Today is three weeks and one day in the “count-up” of omertà (code of silence). Unlike the counting of the Omer this is not a progression to higher levels of holiness, to a readiness for naseh v’nishmah (we will do and we will listen). This is a shameful flight from the obligation to hear the anguish of victims of abuse and an abdication of the responsibility to act on principals already embraced by modern orthodoxy’s key congregational and rabbinical organizations.
We are now post-Sinai, the aroiyos (forbidden sexual acts) are well known, the accused (Rabbi Yosef Kolko) even pleaded guilty and expressed remorse, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) already established its support for using the courts, and it condemned witness intimidation.
The RCA had no trouble supporting the conviction of Nechemya Weberman the very same day and condemning the intimidation of the witnesses. But was the RCA playing it safe and going after an easy target, the Satmar Hasidic community of Williamsburg. After all, Satmar despises the Zionist modern orthodox community. While the modern orthodox march in parades for Israel, Satmar burns Israeli flags on Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day). The RCA had nothing to lose when it condemned Weberman.
One has to wonder if the RCA’s leaders are either cowards or hypocrites?
If this distresses you, write the leadership of the RCA to express your views, or learn some more about the issues by reading about Rabbi Belsky’s role in the Kolko case, and my first, and more extended call, for a letter writing campaign. If you are already convinced, just continue on to the lists of addresses below.
The people to whom you should direct your letters include:
- Executive VP of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), OU’s rabbinical arm, Rabbi Mark Dratch firstname.lastname@example.org
- President of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), Rabbi Shmuel Goldin email@example.com
If you favor snail mail or fax, contact:
Rabbinical Council of America, 305 Seventh Avenue, 12th Floor, New York, New York 10001 Phone: 212-807-9000 Fax: 212-727-8452
When you send these emails, BCC to anyone else you know in the RCA or OU orbit that is, or ought to be, interested in protecting children from sexual abuse. But please be careful to respect email address privacy by putting these recipients into the BLIND CC (BCC) field.
To establish a record, please share copies of your letters and their replies on this site and as many other places as possible including websites, Twitter, email lists, local newspapers and bulletins and physical bulletin boards (Comments are moderated so it may be a few hours before you see your submitted comment appear- but that is still a hell of a lot quicker and transparent than the OU/RCA response).
Warning– you will probably not get a substantive email reply. Instead you will probably be given a number to call. Apparently folks are skittish about leaving a written record. If you are satisfied by all means thank them and publicize the reply. If you feel you were given evasive replies, please follow up by explaining your dissatisfaction and sharing it with all those to whom you originally wrote. Let’s make sure there is a feedback loop!