Day # 22 of RCA Timidity

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
  • President of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), Rabbi Shmuel Goldin

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!



4 thoughts on “Day # 22 of RCA Timidity

    • Yes. I just saw it and tweeted it about 4 this afternoon. It is revolting: Here is full text of RCA announcement today,

      Statement from the Orthodox Union and RCA

      Jun 6, 2013 — The Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America reaffirm that any individual with firsthand knowledge or reasonable basis to suspect child abuse or endangerment, or the sale of illegal drugs, has a religious obligation to promptly share that information with secular law enforcement. Further, those deemed “mandated reporters” under secular law must obey their state’s reporting requirements.

      Lives can be ruined or ended by unreported child abuse or endangerment, or drug sales, as we are too often tragically reminded. The Torah’s statement in Leviticus 19:16, “Do not stand by while your neighbor’s blood is shed,” obligates every member of the community to do all in one’s power to prevent harm to others.


      Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, President of the RCA, and Rabbi Mark Dratch, Executive Vice President, received the following letter from Rabbi Israel Belsky, confirming his position reporting to civil authorities in matters of child abuse.

      In essence Belsky says, oh yes, I support reporting when someone is guilty. So, in theory, I agree with the RCA when I, Harav, Hagaon , Yisroel Belsky Shlita, happen to know of a case where someone is guilty lefi daati. But
      1. I am the final arbiter
      2. I do not hold from the silly RCA standard that these things are best left to the police to investigate
      3. I completely feel Kolko is innocent so we do not let the police investigate
      4. Since I disagree with the RCA you will turn yourselves into shmattas for me and not mention the Kolko case even by name
      5. Since I disagree with you about the Kolko case I am entitled to intimidate, call the accusers molesters, mosrim and rodfim (and thus incite to harassment and even violence)
      6. Since I disagree with you about Kolko we will not mention three witnesses and the fact that Kolko pleaded guilty.

      If I were Belsky I would be proud as a peacock. He turned the RCA into shmattas who turned tail under pressure from Belsky. Now we know the truth, the RCA has no spine when threatened by the kosher business interests of the OU. They only have spine when it comes to attacking Satmar over Weberman.

      This is pathetic beyond belief!

  1. Our G’dolim remind me of the LDS, albeit not saints, just LD, Limp fill in the blank.
    Spineless is a euphemism. But not when it comes to prepubescent boys.
    Yeah, first hand knowledge, so the perp needs to turn himself in, B”H.

  2. Go to the secular press with the story about Rav Belsky’s cover up and intimidation of witnesses and the RCA omerta!!!

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