From the Frum Follies Archives, Dec. 16/2009
A Tale Of Three Rabbis Accused of Sex Abuse
IsraelNews, December 15, 2009
Rabbi Yudi Jacobson, a resident of an ultra orthodox West Bank settlement was accused of sexual misconduct and breach of contract by a pregnant woman alleged to be a part-time prostitute. He shocked everyone in his influential West Bank community when he said “She is more in the right than me.” He discontinued his relationship with her but acknowledged paternity of her children and financially supports them. He rejected a lawyer’s suggestion that he defend himself by pointing out that she had deceived him about her identity when he met her at a regional event.
As a group, ultra orthodox rabbis are disturbed by Yudi Jacobson’s unseemly public dishonoring of his fine family. One of them said that “Rabbi Jacobson’s wallowing comments were self indulgent and diminish kavod hatorah.” Another leading rabbi criticized “Yudi’s untznius compliment to an alleged zonah as typical of a pattern of coarse indecency being spread by those who ignore bans on the internet.” A third rabbi said, “Sadly, I think Mr. Jacobson’s son will never be normal. I certainly won’t let anyone talk to me about a shidduch with that family.”
In contrast, when our reporter contacted Rabbi Yehuda Kolko he claimed he was innocent of charges about child molesting at Yeshiva Torah Temima in Flatbush. Rabbi Kolko now lives in Lakewood where his old administrator runs Torah Temima’s branch. In the summer he davens at Rabbi Wachtfogel’s Yeshiva in S. Fallsburg. He claims he pleaded guilty to sex abuse charges to protect his family from a protracted and expensive legal defense against an anti-semitic District Attorney who was conducting a “blood libel.” A number of askanim supported his claim and described his accusers as dishonest disturbed children from less religious families who have a habit of trying to blame the best yeshivah in Brooklyn for their problems. The askanim insisted on keeping their comments off the record because of concerns about lashon horah.
In yet another contrast, Rabbi Leib Tropper reluctantly resigned his position as the director of the Eternal Jewish Family (EJF) program for potential converts to pursue other interests and spend more time with his lawyers. He has not admitted any misconduct. Many of his key rabbinic backers are trying to minimize the fallout from allegations galloping around the internet at the speed of sound. One rabbi told our reporter that the witness against R. Tropper is “not credible, she is a lying gentile prostitute who Rabbi Tropper was trying to help. Rabbi Tropper is a brave man who continually exposes himself to such risks to help some of the most degenerate people imaginable.”
Just in case you missed the references in the story about Rabbi Yudi Jacobson, I am talking about the Patriarch Jacob’s son Judah who had gotten Tamar pregnant. Rather than let Tamar be burnt as a Zonah, he said “She is more in the right than I because I did not give her (in levirate marriage) to my son Shelah” (Genesis 38:26). Perhaps the Davidic dynasty descends from that union because of Judah’s honest confession and because Tamar boldly risked shame to correct a wrong. Rather than accuse Judah she gave him a chance to confess and he rose to the challenge.
We now have a self-crowned hereditary elite, which claims extraordinary privileges including the right to suppress truth and to abrogate the ordinary requirements of tshuvah. They invoke daas torah, but their practices are at odds with the torah’s lessons about those worthy of hereditary leadership.