Windows and Doors

Windows and Doors


Clergy Abusing Children: Not For Catholics Only

posted by Brad Hirschfield

While nothing has been proved, the story of an Arizona rabbi accused of molesting a child became that much more real today when Rabbi Bryan Bramly was extradited to New York City, where the crime is alleged to have occurred. Given the public outcry against the Catholic Church in recent weeks, I am curious to see how the Jewish community will respond.
To be sure this is not the first time a rabbi has either been accused of found to have actually committed such crimes. And I appreciate that there is no central authority for Jews which parallels that of the Catholic Church.
Be that as it may, if our anger at the Church’s handling of this problem is more than the Catholic bashing which many Catholic leaders, including the Pope, have claimed, then we must address this issue with no reservations about how it looks for rabbis, Judaism, or the Jewish community.
The only thing about which to worry now, are the victims. I include in that any accused clergy who may actually be innocent. But our concern with protecting them can not outweigh the concern for people who claim to have been abused.


Let’s hope that we don’t hide behind worries of protecting the supposedly unjustly accused, concern about lashon harah (speaking ill of a fellow human being), or bringing shame upon our community. There can be no greater shame than invoking legal principles, Jewish or American, as excuses for not addressing the evil of religious leaders who molest children.
The coming days will test the moral fiber of the Jewish community in general and the rabbinic community in particular. I hope and pray that we pass the test.



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hlvanburen

posted April 9, 2010 at 11:51 am


“Be that as it may, if our anger at the Church’s handling of this problem is more than the Catholic bashing which many Catholic leaders, including the Pope, have claimed, then we must address this issue with no reservations about how it looks for rabbis, Judaism, or the Jewish community.”
Indeed. However I am encouraged that, unlike the Catholic Church did in so many cases, this alleged abuser is going directly into the legal system for adjudication rather than facing an internal review and transfer to another community. There is no hint of a cover-up yet, and if that remains the case it is a major difference between this situation and so many of the cases coming to light in the Catholic church.



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Solomon2

posted April 9, 2010 at 12:38 pm


“if our anger at the Church’s handling of this problem is more than the Catholic bashing which many Catholic leaders, including the Pope, have claimed -”
Do not confuse, as the Church repeatedly has, “Catholic-bashing” with Church-bashing. I have no problems with Catholics. I do have problems with the Roman Catholic Church, for I have personally suffered from its policy of overlooking the transgressions of the powerful while offering the victims at most prayer for comfort.
(Always get promises in writing from any Catholic institution, and make sure its signed – in ink, not pencil – and that you have a lawyer on your side to advise you from the start.)



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R

posted April 9, 2010 at 4:06 pm

laura

posted April 10, 2010 at 11:06 am


chabad rabbi in Albany NY molested a young teen in the mikvah and is now jailed



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LAURA MUSHKAT

posted April 10, 2010 at 11:21 am


went to link in Forward-we too sweep it under the rung sometime-sorry we need that new organization at all!



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Your Name

posted April 10, 2010 at 12:22 pm


As a former Roman Catholic, I am very disappointed in the way the church has handled all of this. The late Cardinal Joseph Bernadine was accused of these allegations but unlike so many other priests insisted on his innocence. He was proven not to have done anything to his accuser. I am so agravated at the church that while a campaign to call Cathloics home was launched, no one looked at why they left. The church leaders need to ask the simple question, what would out Lord calls us to do. How about this Confess and Repent. This is what is missing from all of this. We are called to Confess and Repent of our sins. This was a message that has been handed down since the begging of time, through Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Moses and Jesus. Its a shame that a faith based on the works of a Saviour would turn away from what he would have us do



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Harriet B

posted April 10, 2010 at 1:34 pm


Much to our disgrace, yes, it does happen among the Jewish clergy and it is covered up.
We must stop covering this up.



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stan

posted April 10, 2010 at 2:20 pm


It is certainly likely that jewish pedaphiles exist but we can be certain that every precaution is taken to avoid and remedy the problem
as soon as possible. This has not been the policy of the Vatican.



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Your Name

posted April 10, 2010 at 3:02 pm


My religious path started as a child in Penecostal churches in KY. From about the age of 7 until the age of 9 I went to and participated in many “high passion” sevices and “Revivals”. Even though very young, I remember the pairing off of “visiting” preachers with young girls after the services. In the Baptist churches in that same area, hot summer nights were fraught with hot hormones. In the Catholic church my parents joined in the late 60′s it was the same. In 1970 at the Catholic high school there were eventual pairings between priests and nuns and Brothers and students. Even once when I was in 8th grade a round of spend the bottle with a young priest participating. He left the priesthood and got married a few years later.
The blend of sex and religion goes back into history. Such passion that exists for some folks in their services carries over into sex: sometimes, hetereosexual trysts, sometimes homosexual, sometimes marriage and sadly and sorrowfully sometimes into pedophilia.
Obviously, it is not always the connection of religious passion and sex. Sometimes it is just the insanity of a perversion.
Nevertheless, the whole issue is one that needs to be examined by all religions and demoninations within those religions. Lest we forget that there is not one of us who can cast the first stone in the name of their own belief system.



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Sabri Joy

posted April 13, 2010 at 10:25 am


The fundamental matter in this issue and all other questions of religion is to distinguish between evil and religion. Evil exists irrespective of religion, and sometimes in spite of religion. Those with long beards and payes, or with a priest’s garb, as the case may be, may look ethical and religious but sometimes far from it. But we absolutely need to ensure that we do not allow evil to hide behind beards. Children must be taught — in all communities — to speak to their parents openly and parents must stand ready to take action if such evil exists. The Jewish community must also stand ready to provide the resources within the community so that those who have been abused can come forward without fear of retribution. And it is through blogs and posts such as this that perhaps those who have been abused, or at risk of abuse, can feel empowered to speak out.



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New Age Cowboy

posted April 13, 2010 at 10:43 am


I’m very impressed by your thoughts Rabbi.
What a horrible tragedy in any house of worship.



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Donna

posted April 13, 2010 at 12:47 pm


Many people join groups that will either help them substain from problems and or help them hide from them. So, they think. Some of the people who become religous leaders do so thinking they will get curred of thier sin.. Some, join in order to have greater access to the vernarable. The problem is much deeper and the people who do these things need life-time spiritual and emotional counseling. Some honest pedifiles admit they will never be cured and they live thier lives in such a way that they will never be alone. They only allow people who will not allow nor, encourage them to do these things to be with them when there is no one else around. It is the price a truly repenant sinner is willing to pay to obey God’s law’s.



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audie

posted April 13, 2010 at 12:55 pm


notice David Klinghoffer’s – a defender, in a past BELIEFNET blog, of “Hitler’s Pope” ! – silence on this matter.
Shteeqa ka-hodaah.



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Ant C.

posted April 13, 2010 at 1:50 pm


I applaud Rabbi Brad on his coverage of this incident. It is profoundly disturbing that you have to go to Beliefnet to get the news that the mainstream media will not cover.



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Andre John

posted April 13, 2010 at 11:39 pm


we should hate them gay priests/rabbis they are the worst hypocrites of all hypocrites. they should be killed like the Old Testament G-d’s laws commanded, burn them like the cities Sodom & Gomorrah in the past.



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Frank

posted April 14, 2010 at 7:11 pm


Andre John you are living proof that Jewish Nazi isn’t an oxymoron. What you’re proposing is genocide. May God Damn you.



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Frank

posted April 14, 2010 at 7:14 pm


A rabbi in Arizona has been extradited to New York on charges that he raped a 7-year-old _girl_ while he was a student at the Conservative movement’s main rabbinical school.
Make that an illiterate Jewish Nazi.



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not into lynching

posted April 15, 2010 at 1:46 am


Rabbi
Your concern is impressive; will you promise to write an equally straightforward and courageous piece if the Rabbi is found innocent?
He has passed a lie-detector test, and the judge imposed 10K bail, instead of the 200K the prosecution asked for.
Your interest in the phenomenon and ugliness of abuse is well-placed, and may you continue to keep focus; it does not justify, however, sacrificing a person’s name (even if others do that). You know better – you have to; you are a Rabbi.



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Andre John

posted April 15, 2010 at 5:11 am


Frank, sorry, to correct myself, i meant pedophile priests/rabbis.
Thanks for correcting me.
Jewish Nazi? – watch “Inglourious Basterds!!!”



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Gavriella

posted April 15, 2010 at 11:00 am


How sadly interesting that we are once again fighting amongst ourselves, when it is the Catholic Church and its disastrous public relations policies that should be the focus of blame.
But once again it’s all the fault of the Jews, don’t you know? Frightening that Giovanni Babini, a retired priest who has been known to make virulent anti-semitic remarks in the past, can utter such vitriol and reporters are hanging on his every word, salivating for more like Pavlov’s dogs. Frightening, too, that people are always ready to blame the Jews for anything and everything, including bad weather. Most frightening of all, we seem eager to accept that blame.
Gavriella



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Solomon2

posted April 15, 2010 at 4:31 pm


Of course it’s the fault of the Jews! Jews stand for justice, yes? Yet the RCC, they stand for themselves.



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European

posted April 15, 2010 at 9:05 pm


http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2010/03/11/2010-03-11_1m_to_fight_hasidic_sex_abuse_sits_unused_since_2009.html#ixzz0i4qU1Sy4
{photo caption} The state earmarked $1M to fight sexual abuse inside Orthodox Jewish communities in New York – but none of the money has been used. Gavrysh/AP/AP {end}
None of the nearly $1 million set aside to tackle sex abuse in New York’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities has been spent, even as another program set up to help scrambles for cash.
The state has earmarked $950,000 since April 2009 to fund Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s plans to teach Hasidic Jews to speak up against child molestation.
But the money sits untouched as Hikind figures out the details of Shomrei Yeldainu – Hebrew for “Guardians of our Children” – the Daily News has learned.
“You have to develop something that is done correctly working with the rabbis and leaders,” said Hikind (D-Brooklyn).
The $950,000 was included in the 2009 state budget for the Office of Family and Children’s Services, said Matt Anderson, a budget spokesman for Gov. Paterson.
It’s the first time the state has funded a sex abuse program geared toward helping a specific ethnic group.
“Apparently, the Hasidim will only go to the Hasidim for help,” said Edward Borges, an FCS spokesman.
While Hikind’s program waits to spend its vast funding, another is making do with much less. Project Kol Tzedek – Hebrew for “Voice of Justice” – is up and running on a relative shoestring budget.
Kol Tzedek was created in April 2009 within the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office Sex Crimes Bureau.
A $40,000 grant from Altria Group Inc., a cigarette company, pays the salary of the program’s sole orthodox Jewish social worker.
Nearly 100 people have called the hotline and more than 30 ultra-Orthodox Jewish men have been arrested, including 16 who have been charged with felony crimes.
This adds to the workload of the already overburdened team of 18 prosecutors in the Brooklyn Sex Crimes unit, said Bureau Chief Rhonnie Jaus.
There’s no money for more staffers.
“We work from our own budget,” said Jaus. “That is all the resources we have.”



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Paul K Fauteck, PsyD, DABPS

posted April 17, 2010 at 6:26 pm


Rabbis, Hindu or Catholic priests, Islamic clergy, are all human, and humans are imperfect. The difference is that the Catholic Church purports to be the only fully authorized channel of communications from G-d to man, yet it is also the religious body in which sexual abuse of children is so rampant and so systematically protected. The demand for celibacy for priests and nuns was never justified, and it makes Catholic holy orders attractive to people who are psychosexually immature and therefore more easily inclined to seek perverse outlets for their libido. Trusting the Church with one’s children is not much safer than hiring known pedophiles for babysitters.



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Paul K Fauteck, PsyD, DABPS

posted April 17, 2010 at 6:27 pm


Rabbis, Hindu or Catholic priests, Islamic clergy, are all human, and humans are imperfect. The difference is that the Catholic Church purports to be the only fully authorized channel of communications from G-d to man, yet it is also the religious body in which sexual abuse of children is so rampant and so systematically protected. The demand for celibacy for priests and nuns was never justified, and it makes Catholic holy orders attractive to people who are psychosexually immature and therefore more easily inclined to seek perverse outlets for their libido. Trusting the Church with one’s children is not much safer than hiring known pedophiles for babysitters.



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Larry

posted April 27, 2010 at 2:15 pm


I was privy to a seminar of young clergy on a retreat and I was told in private that many of the young priests to be were gay and that by going into the priesthood it was easy to way to hide there true feelings.
it is just a bad set up all around, and the priesthood allows it as many are feeling the same and just let it continue.



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Dina

posted May 4, 2010 at 11:37 pm


There are few groups as insular and protective of their own as Orthodox Judaism. Sexual abuse occurs as frequently in their culture as any other and they do not report such crimes to secular authorities. No one group has a greater propensity to commit these crimes, as people are human, regardless of who they do or do not worship.



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