Back in 2008, Dov Hikind made a name for himself by discussing the issue of sex abuse on his radio show. According to Dov Hikind, he got hundreds of calls about molesting and promised to do all sorts of things about these calls. To date no one knows for sure what he accomplished, though he assures us, a lot.
In 2009, he was confronted at a rally, by an openly self identified victim of Rabbi Yehudah Kolko. According to the Jewish Daily Forward the following exchange ensued.
“When are you going to come out with the names of the murderers and molesters?” David Framowitz, an alleged victim of molestation by his yeshiva teacher, yelled at Hikind.
“Never,” Hikind replied before quickly leaving the room.
After Hikind left the room, Rabbi Ronald Greenwald, a longtime Jewish activist, defended him to Framowitz, stating that he was working within the parameters of the ultra-Orthodox population.
“The man is trying to do something, and you’re attacking him,” Greenwald said. “You’re angry as hell.”
“Not angry,” Framowitz, who is himself Orthodox, said quietly. “Hurt.”
The Forward’s reporter, Michael Orbach interviewed Hikind about Satmar.
Asked about a vow he had made in August 2008 to get rid of Avroham Reichman, a teacher at the United Talmudic Academy who is currently being sued in civil court for sexual abuse, Hikind spoke out against the Satmar Hasidic community, which sponsors the school.
“Satmar is ready to go through any type of loss but won’t get rid of Reichman. They’ve pretty much told me to go to hell,” Hikind said.
But Hikind also said that going to war with Satmar would ruin what he was attempting to achieve. “I know how to fight,” he insisted. “But I’m interested in accomplishing something.”
Since then, as we all know, Satmar leader and serial molester Rabbi Nechemya Weberman was brought down by a wispy girl with the guts to stand up to three days of brutal cross examination. She was still 17 when she began testifying and only 16 when she committed herself to testify in spite of the full weight of Satmar terror directed at her and her family which lived in Williamsburg. Another Satmar victim of Rabbi Avrohom Reichman, finally got him fired somewhere in the last two months.
It seems like there are people tougher than Dov Hikind when it comes to fighting Satmar. It also seems like Rabbi Ronnie Greenwald was wrong about “working within the parameters of the ultra-orthodox population.”
At this point, I believe, the real motors of change are the victims/survivors feeling angry and hurt but above all determined to go for broke. At some point survivors realize they can never completely get past their own trauma but they can somewhat ease and acquire a sense of integrity again by fighting to keep other children safe. That drive for integrity and justice, that drive to protect other children, is so powerful that it can get past the hurdles that dumbfound the practiced old politicos.