Why Are the Wife and Children More Important Than the Victims?

Bethany S Mandel

Bethany S Mandel

Bethany Mandel is a victim of Rabbi (sic) Barry Freundel who secretly videotaped her in a state of undress while she was undergoing conversion at the mikveh (ritual bath) under his control. She has now announced that she will not join any lawsuits by other woman who were also videotaped by Freundel.

I always respect the decision of a victim to move on. But that is not how she explains her decision. Even though she is a member the Rabbinical Council of America’s (RCA) committee reviewing conversion practices she declares they are blameless. This makes me wonder if the implicit price of her inclusion was granting the organization absolution for negligent oversight of Freundel and instead focusing on protections in the future. I agree that the future is more important than the past. However, forcing accountability for the past can stimulate future vigilance.

Bethany Mandel also insists that a lawsuit against Freundel himself will victimize his wife and children. She writes:

Unfortunately Barry Freundel’s finances do not exist in a vacuum. He is a member of a family with a wife and three grown children, who are also victims, if not the biggest victims of this entire situation. I have no idea if they are now or will be an intact family in the future, nor is it any of my or anyone else’s business. If they do stay together as a family unit the entire family needs to rebuild their lives. If the family does not stay together, those victims, above all others, deserve to take him to the cleaners first.

Freundel victimized his family. But they are not the ones who were spied on while naked. They are not the ones whose sacred moments were grist for Freundel’s voyeurism.

Obviously, the financial payout will hurt his wife and children. So for that matter will a prison sentence that deprives him of earning power. In fact, his family was hurt when he was fired by his congregation. Carried to the extreme, no predator should ever be forced to pay anything as long as he has relatives.

The orthodox community prides itself on its strong family and community ties. But sometimes it is a curse because it morphs into protection at all costs. It also keeps on turning victims into outsiders. Ms. Mandel insults victims by saying they don’t matter as much as Freundel’s wife and children.

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54 thoughts on “Why Are the Wife and Children More Important Than the Victims?

  1. This may be the first time I have ever disagreed with you in multiple years of reading, however, you are not only wrong- you simply don’t understand Ms. Mandel’s statement.

    Ms. Mandel is making a PERSONAL choice to refrain from damaging people that were not the abuser. That is her choice. This personal choice may have developed for any number of reasons that we may not understand. (For example, perhaps the wife and children are not just anonymous family members of the sicko but rather humans that she personally developed relationships with and therefore wishes not to put them through any further pain.)

    The most important thing you either did not read or did not understand is that this was a descriptive portrayal of her own feelings not PREscriptive advice for what anyone else should do. Therefore, your summary that “Carried to the extreme, no predator should ever be forced to pay anything as long as he has relatives” would be a total misunderstanding of her opinion.

    You’re normally very perceptive so I’m actually kind of blown away by this.

    Kol tuv

    • Yehuda,

      Thanks for your usual agreement and compliments. I understand that you are reading MS. Mandel as a purely reporting her personl reactions. But she segued into general terms at some point in her article.

      She wrote: “If they do stay together as a family unit the entire family needs to rebuild their lives. If the family does not stay together, those victims, above all others, deserve to take him to the cleaners first.”

      If she had written, I respect all other victims who choose to sue him, I would not have written my post. If she clarifies to that effect, I will be glad to incorporate it in the post.

      But she didn’t do that. She didn’t just state a choice, she offered a rationale that deserves rebuttal on behalf of those who are choosing to sue, and have solid moral claims that merit respect.

      • I believe that Mandel should either resign or be removed from the RCA committee. Her tweet of January 1, 2015 which characterizes others victimized by Porno Barry, who have brought civil lawsuits, as ambulance chasers was outrageous.

        https://twitter.com/bethanyshondark
        Bethany S. Mandel @bethanyshondark · Jan 1
        Ambulance chasing. http://ow.ly/GGb7W

        The fact is that Freundel had and still may have in his possession pornographic photos and videos of hundreds of women that he victimized. What becomes of this material years down the line? What will prevent Porno Barry from having some of it returned to him after the criminal case (for example materials that are past criminal limitations periods)? What will prevent Porono Barry from possessing, selling and/or distributing this material down the line? There is a good reason for people to bring lawsuits to resolve these issues. Mandel doesn’t get it. Nor does she understand that if the RCA, Kesher and others had not ignored past misbehavior and warning signs, much of this could have been caught years earlier. Moreover, both tolerated Porno Barry’s exploitation of converts (the financial exploitation was confirmed at the time).

        When the recent allegations broke, Kesher made sure that Porno Barry’s family was provided meals for the holiday. They provided Porno Barry with free housing for the rest of 2014 (freeing his resources to hire high priced lawyers to get him off/a deal, rather then Porno Barry taking any measure of responsibility). What did Kesher do for the converts Porno Barry exploited over the years? Nothing. Because they are not connected like Porno Barry. Kesher ignored the allegations years ago (Porno Barry even told the President that allegations of misconduct had been resolved at the RCA and the President did nothing further) and never looked into the misconduct. That is why Mandel and any other Kesher apologists should be off the RCA committee. We need real change. We need real justice.

        I see no basis in Jewish law where we excuse crimes and throw out justice simply because a criminal has a family that lives off his fraud (paid to be a spiritual leader but his focus was on making pornography). Porno Barry could end this by taking responsibility for his crimes and cooperating with the authorities. Instead Porno Barry continues to put those he victimizes through this public criminal proceeding and anyone that stands with him at this point and allows him to do so, even Porno Barry’s family, are enablers and merit no compassion what so ever.

  2. I believe Bethany Mandel will come to regret this decision in 10-15 years or even less. Freundel’s children may be victims of his actions, but they are adults, not minors, and do not need to rely on his money, they should be supporting themselves by now. Freundel’s wife will make her decision as to where she stands with him, but Bethany Mandel’s suing or not suing him in court will not change Mrs. Freundel’s monetary standing. She will likely legally separate her assets from his, so that she is not left destitute.

    If Bethany Mandel does not want to sue the mikvah, the shul or the RCA because she does not believe they did anything wrong, that’s one thing. But her not suing Fruendel himself because of some idea she has that his wife and children “deserve to take him to the cleaners first” is simply folly on her part. His wife and children will not be able to “take him to the cleaners.” His children have no course of action or claim on his assets because they are not dependent minors, but rather adults. And his wife will either join the long list of victims wanting to sue him, or not. Either way, other than any money he hid away in a Swiss bank, everything he has will be up for grabs from the criminal lawyers, civil suit lawyers, and numerous civil judgments. It will just be a question of how MUCH each party gets from Freundel’s limited assets. Bethany’s abstaining from a civil suit of Freundel will not be sparing funds that his wife or children will get. She will just be leaving a bigger piece of the pie that is Freundel’s assets to those other victims who sue him. And after his very large legal bills from his criminal lawsuit, there may not be all that much left. Being part of a civil lawsuit like this against Fruendel is about justice, it’s not about money. I believe she will regret not being a part of it, and that her publically stated reason is both false (public) piety and foolish.

  3. A monetary win in court will not make what happened to her better for her. For some, it will help them pay for the therapy they need; for some it will help make it better because they will have been able to punish him and the others involved (shul, school and RCA) themselves, vs the courts punishing him. Therefore, she is choosing to not sue, because his family, innocent victims themselves, don’t need to be punished more. I don’t believe she is saying that we should do everything we can to completely protect the family of abusers; I think by taking this stand, she is doing what she has to do to protect herself and move forward.

    I agree with what you wrote about her decision regarding RCA. I think they were aware that something was not at least right (though maybe they knew more). Something is not right here, which saddens me because I know Rabbi Matanky from when I lived in Chicago many years ago. He struck me as a kind man, who had a good head on his shoulders.

  4. Mandel should either resign or be removed from the RCA committee. Her tweet of January 1, 2015 which characterizes others victimized by Porno Barry, who have brought civil lawsuits, as ambulance chasers was outrageous.

    https://twitter.com/bethanyshondark
    Bethany S. Mandel @bethanyshondark · Jan 1
    Ambulance chasing. http://ow.ly/GGb7W

    The fact is that Freundel had and may still have in his possession pornographic photos and videos of hundreds of women that he victimized. What becomes of this material years down the line? What will prevent Porno Barry from having some of it returned to him after the criminal case (for example materials that are past criminal limitations periods)? What will prevent Porono Barry from possessing, selling and/or distributing this material down the line? There is a good reason for people to bring lawsuits to resolve these issues. Mandel doesn’t get it. Nor does she understand that if the RCA, Kesher and others had not ignored past misbehavior and warning signs, much of this could have been caught years earlier. Moreover, both tolerated Porno Barry’s exploitation of converts (the financial exploitation was confirmed at the time).

    When the recent allegations broke, Kesher made sure that Porno Barry’s family was provided meals for the holiday. They provided Porno Barry with free housing for the rest of 2014 (freeing his resources to hire high priced lawyers to get him off/a deal, rather then Porno Barry taking any measure of responsibility). What did Kesher do for the converts Porno Barry exploited over the years? Nothing. Because they are not connected like Porno Barry. Kesher ignored the allegations years ago (Porno Barry even told the President that allegations of misconduct had been resolved at the RCA and the President did nothing further) and never looked into the misconduct. That is why Mandel and any other Kesher apologists should be off the RCA committee. We need real change. We need real justice.

    I see no basis in Jewish law where we excuse crimes and throw out justice simply because a criminal has a family that lives off his fraud (paid to be a spiritual leader but his focus was on making pornography). Porno Barry could end this by taking responsibility for his crimes and cooperating with the authorities. Instead Porno Barry continues to put those he victimizes through this public criminal proceeding and anyone that stands with him at this point and allows him to do so, even Porno Barry’s family, are enablers and merit no compassion what so ever.

    • It is a sad sad day, that I am more enraged, against this Bethany Mandel, than against the SOB Freundel.
      Most of my issues have been already stated by others.. Bethany seems to have a need to be a leader in various non-orthodox (this is not meant to be a religious use of the term orthodox) a mover and shaker. Perhaps, OBAMA will find use for her. I am certain that she would be willing…to support Muslim females, even perhaps miskenim, Muslim males.

      Go Bethany , GO you are just super amazing ,
      Frankly I am super impressed by both Pamela Geller and Bridget Gabriel.
      but Bethany Mandel. well, she is a miracle, nice to have her aboard.

  5. While this lady shows great concern for the “Peek A Boo Rebbe’s” family,
    it seems the only way these so called abusers of their postions are detered from pursuing
    their activities is either paying lots of money for damages done their victims or going to
    jail. This is true be it the current so called Rabbi Berry or any other sexual predator.
    Clearly they have no fear of Hashem or the punishment he deals out. Yet, they do fear
    the laws of man.

  6. This crystalizes the problem I keep having with your positions. Barry Freundel was severely punished for horrible behavior. He lost his job, and is not likely to ever again find one in his field of expertise — and that is as it should be. Anyone with the disgusting idea of hi-tech voyeurism knows that he can be as easily caught as Freundel was. As Bethany Mandel indicates, who knows whether his wife and family will ever want to have anything to do with him again, and if they do, he will be under a very dark cloud. Bethany was a victim and she has seen Freundel suffer for victimizing her. Now, our religion doesn’t demand turning the other cheek, but it doesn’t require us to be vindicatively vengeful either. The family is indeed suffering through no fault of theirs, and it is highly admirable not to cause them any further suffering when a) Barry Freundel will never be in a position to repeat his crime, b) he was very much put in his place and made an example of, and c) people have learned that hi-tech voyeurism is discovered (there was a camera discovered this week in an apartment of a young woman and it made nationwide news) and that it brings serious consequences.
    Is there anything that will satisfy you short of driving the perpetrators to suicide?

    • I am not sure where you see “vindictivness” in my post. I am merely asserting that we should respect the right of victims to recoup losses flowing from Peeping Barry’s misconduct.

      • I think that one point that was missed, though, was that since Freundel’s wife and children are victims, too; so, shouldn’t that make Freundel all the more prosecutable? Also, isn’t that (chas v’shalom) Freundel spied on his daughters when they used the mikvah possible?

  7. I also agree with her. She implies that if she believed the shul or the RCA to have covered up RBF’s actions, or to otherwise be responsible, she would sue them. But why burden two basically good organizations with lawsuits when the organizations themselves played no active role in RBF’s actions and are each reeling from them? This is similar to the argument against large SEC fines of companies for their executives’ fraudulent reporting: the shareholders suffered when the executives’ fraud came to light, why make the shareholders suffer more by fining their company? The executives (similar to RBF) deserve to be punished, but why the shareholders?

    As for suing him personally, if it were me I might sue, but I respect her decision not to. Putting a dollar amount on the harm done to her would be difficult, and he is already being punished criminally. How RBF and his rebbitzen will split whatever assets they have in divorce is beyond me, but I doubt either will walk away wealthy.

    • I was careful to sidestep the issue of liability by the synagogue that appears to have acted responsibly in promptly passing on allegations to the police. It is less clear that the RCA is innocent. Complaints were brought to them that he was abusing his power over converts and had traveled together in an overnight sleeper with one of his conversion candidates. The RCA never informed the synagogue of those allegations, even though they reprimanded him.

      Shmilda, you are confusing the terms punishment and consequences. When you accidentally injure someone while drunk, the victim is entitled to compensation, regardless of how much it hurts the offender and his family. A victim can waive their claim. That might be noble, but it is not wrong for others to press their claims.

      • Kesher cannot claim to have clean hands. Years before the discovery of cameras, Porno Barry advised the President of the shul that there had been claims of misconduct investigated by the RCA against him and that it had been resolved. The Kesher President made no investigation and took no steps to look into the matter. That is likely negligence. Had the President made inquiries she likely would have discovered that Porno Barry was financially exploiting conversion students. That should have led to dismissal/discipline and certainly more oversight of his activities.

        Yes in the current case the shul phoned the police but likely because the misbehavior involved regular congregants and not just vulnerable converts.

  8. While I find Freundel’s behavior despicable, it’s not up to you to defrock him as a rabbi, Yerachmiel. Adding the term “sic” after the term “rabbi” implies that there was some factual error made at the time he was granted semicha, which is not true…and certainly not up to you to decide. Of course, if you meant that he is “sick”, that’s a different story!

    • I am not disputing his ordination. But not everyone with semichah deserves to be respected as a rabbi. Hence, the Special Beis Din of Chicago pointedly referred to Mr. Meisels, depriving him of his previous honorific Rabbi. As a matter of record it was relevant to people know he once functioned as a rabbi, but no longer can.

    • B’vadai b’vadai sick. Glattsomequestions, so right you are. Another sicko. Here we are, all talking about legal cases, but, pause, for a moment, yes, this perv, is/was a sick sick sexual abuser. And, as the others, he got away with it for years and years. WHAT DOES THAT TELL THE ORTHODOX COMMUNITY? Does anyone really care that this happened? and perhaps is happening elsewhere? Why is a MALE in the mikveh??? If I were a female in said circumstances, over my dead body would i allow males/rabbis/ contact with my naked mikveh imposed naked body. disgusting and horrific that Jewish females have allowed this to go on for decades/centuries? did the gedolim say that only they could unravel a bloodstained cloth, without a microscope???? Did the rishonim or for that matter, the achronim, have microscopes? or ultrasounds?

  9. I’ve been reading a bit about the Agunah problem recently. When it comes to Get refusal by a man, it seems our religion says to the woman involved, “We’re so sorry for your pain and suffering, but our hands are tied, you cannot remarry”. But when it comes to retribution for sex abuse, all of a sudden we’re so sensitive to the pain and suffering of the family? I would say to the family, “I’m so sorry for the pain and suffering your family member caused you, but justice must be done, evil must be outed, and retribution paid.

    • SHERI,
      i wanted to add another support to your wise comment re agunot and “others”,.
      YES, good point., excellent point.

      • Thanks, but I think there may be some logical incosistencies in the comparison, I’m just too brain dead right now to tease them out. The basic point is, I guess, that there are cases where doing the righteous, just thing can still cause pain to innocent bystanders. Every effort must be made to protect the innocent as much as possible in the interest of compassion. But, when compassion completely trumps justice, all you’ve got is a world of “Les din v’les dayan”.

  10. I have no problem either with a victim suing for compensation or with a victim deciding that is inappropriate for herself, for whatever reason. Nor do I see Ms. Mandel’s article as doing anything other than explaining her personal choice.

    I really have a problem with people covering up abuse of whatever kind abuse so as not to cause social ostracism to the abuser’s innocent family members. The way to deal with that is to stop ostracizing the innocent family members of abusers. Period. And ostracizing the victims of abuse goes beyond horrible.

    • Mike, none of the victims is accusing or ostracizing Freundel’s spouse and children. Bethany Mandel is just saying that any lawsuit against Rabbi Freundel is going to hurt the finances of his wife and children. This is true.

      • I know. But in many cases one hears that one has to keep things quiet because it will ruin the Shidduchim of the abuser’s kids. And the way to deal with that is for the community not to ostracize innocent family members (and even more so victims and their families) not to cover up abuse

        • Not sure this is realistic. Personally, I would not want to do a shidduch with the child of a sex abuser, the same as I wouldn’t want to do a shidduch with the child of a thief, money launderer, etc. Perhaps I would consider these possibilities in the rare event that the child would repudiate the parent’s behavior, preferably publicly.

        • Mike – There are many levels of community acceptance vs ostracizing and everything in between. And shidduchim can complicate matters, without it even being ostracizing.

          Example – Sheri, below, wouldn’t want her child to marry the child of a convicted money launderer or the child of a sex abuser. But if her child were friends with a child of someone who was convicted of money laundering, would she demand that her child sever the friendship? I would hope not. Would she demand the end of a friendship if her child was friends with a child whose father was convicted for sex abuse? I would hope not. On the other hand, she needs to protect her child, and may insist that her child never be alone in that household with the father, and that all social interaction take place in her home.

          Another Example – A friend of your wife’s husband, Simcha Pedi, is arrested on pedophilia charges. Does your wife ostracize her friend? I would hope not. But while this man is free on bail awaiting trial, if they would invite your family for Shabbos lunch, would you go over there with your children who are the age which Simcha Pedi was charged with abusing? Likely not, as there is always a chance that the children will be alone and Mr. Pedi will take advantage of one of your children. Is not accepting the Shabbos lunch invitation ostracizing? What about if your kids play with their kids?

          Then there is Shidduchim, an even more complicated social situation. Supposing you have no skeletons in your closet, would you want your daughter marrying the son of a convicted pedophile? Would you want a convicted Pedophile as your “Mechutin” and as the grandparent of your grandchildren? Rejecting their children for shidduchim is a form of social ostracizing. But it is also a form of protection from harm. On the other hand, a family with a troubled history physical abuse which is publically known, may be okay about having their children marry the child of a pedophile since they themselves have some extreme issues in their family.

          There is a lot of balancing that would need to be done, between being socially supportive of the family, while not endangering your own family. One would hope that the frum community, with the pride it takes in all it’s chessed, would be able to maintain this kind of balance. But shidduchim weighs heavily in the frum world. So even if the family of an abuser would be supported and not ostracized in certain ways, they would be in other ways. And they wouldn’t be faulted for it.

          Yerachmiel, wondering what your thoughts are about this.

          • This is a tough set of questions because the shidduch model is defective. Kids are too dependent financially, emotionally, and thus, too subject to pressures. Obviously, a kid who is totally free of and critical of their molesting relatives, should be judged on their own, for better or worse. But short of true independence, things get much more complicated. But then the whole model of marriage without secure independent capacity to function autonomously is a problem. There was a time when it was a matter of principle and pride not to marry without a capacity to make it, except in exceptional situations.

            • Unfortunately those times are gone. Children are “married off” and too often independence by “children” is never reached and parents support their kids even when their kids are marrying off kids. Dependence certainly complicates an already complicated social system. The shidduch model is certainly defective. We need to go back to the times where boys and girls met on their own and were free to do so. I also believe the restriction of boys and girls meeting in open social situations has created what is now known as “the shidduch crisis.” We’ve restricted ourselves into a crisis such that the gedarim are working against frum society. But that’s another topic entirely.

            • lovely,. yeah, so many cases of abuse are not revealed for decades, really decades. The abusers are dead and gone.
              Now, postulate the question….. Is it in the DNA. you have a kid about to want to marry, and OY , turns out that his father or grandfather was a pedophile, incestor, maybe. Now what?
              Hey, if we go by, known issues, such as it were, most children would not be marriageable. at all ever. think about that……

            • Just as I believe in kabdeihu v’chashdayhu (respect and suspect) I also believe we cannot live in a world where we assume the worst about everyone. The fact is that most people are not child sex abusers. It is probably just 1-5%. Moreover, even those who are offenders are not offenders with every type of kid. So a particular kid is probably only vulnerable to something like 1% of all adults. prudent practices, sound education, vigilance, and prompt followup on suspicious episodes can keep almost all kids safe. Moreover, while all sex abuse is terrible, prompt appropriate responses at first indications can seriously limit the harm.

              We all go on driving and flying though we know there are risks. The major risks in shidduchim are not contending with sex abusers but all sorts of other factors ranging from inadequate preparation for financial independence to inadequate social skills and experiences with the opposite sex sufficient to evaluate compatibility or build good communication, cooperation and shared decision making. A final problem is letting outsiders, whether relatives or rabbis, interfere with the autonomy of couples when it comes to dealing with tensions or key choices.

  11. Of course I wouldn’t demand that my child sever the friendship. Marriage is a different matter. As for the shidduch crisis, I’m starting to think it’s because more boys go off the derech than do girls, and even boys who stay frum may be opting out of marriage for various reasons. Girls are less likely to opt out. Now I’d like to connect this problem to the culture of “learning for a living”, but it may just be a generational culture of avoidance of responsibility. The only real solution in my mind is to somehow allow girls to feel it’s okay to be single, even if it’s not their first choice, so they don’t have to be crying in their coffee all the time.

    • The other solution is recognizing that just as Kollel is not for everyone, girls should not aspire to marry a kollel guy unless they have the yichus and wealth to make it likely. The bottom line is that most kollel guys are looking for rich father-in-laws. Additionally, if the Haredi parents would truly challenge the demonization of the MO world, girls would have more marriage options. finally, if enough girls refuse to marry so young, the sex ratio imbalance would be partially corrected.

      • My MO single female relatives are not having any easier time finding shidduchim than my more yeshivish single female relatives. There seems to be a lack of males interested in, or eligible for, marriage across all sectors. Plus, I’ve always had a hard time buying that age gap reasoning, and if it really is a factor, few girls will refuse to marry young to correct it. In the yeshivish world, boys are being pushed to start dating at a younger age to correct the age gap. Scary.

        • Come to think of it, I kind of envy my non-religious relatives who can do whatever they want, live together, marry, divorce, remarry, or just stay single without all the angst. Then again, they envy me in some ways for my supposedly warm and fuzzy religious life.

  12. I think that her logic is exceptionally offensive and hurtful to sex-abuse victims.

    I suffer from this again and again.

    My brother molested me when I was a kid. No one in my family would stand up against him, no one would stand up for me for me, to protect his wife and kids. Because why should they suffer? And what about me? Why should I have to suffer? By every family simcha, by every family gathering-I only go to the absolutely necessary ones, because I don’t want MY kids to suffer. And the re-traumatization that I suffer is exceptionally hurtful and infuriating.

    Ms. Mandel can choose to recover as she wishes. But to take into account Freundel’s children and wife, when HE himself didn’t-is a betrayal to all sexually abused victims.

    It hurts when real pain is considered non-existent. It hurts to be re-victimized again and again. It hurts to live in a community that doesn’t demand accountability. It hurts to live with family that deny my pain and continuously cover up for the sake of ‘a wife and kids.’

    The reasoning is skewed, the logic is pathetic.

    Shame on them all.

  13. I also agree. Mandel’s choice is her own and she has a right to it. But her comments clearly implied that the perpetrator’s wife and children have moral priority over those he has wronged. That’s just untrue — and we need to stress that it’s untrue, because it’s a dangerous line of argument.

    What happens when the perpetrator’s family prefers the victims to stay quiet? According to Mandel’s logic, the victims in such a (common) case are blameworthy if they assert their rights — a really grotesque conclusion. Just think what it implies. Would Mandel insist (to take an extreme but obvious case) that survivors of Nazi crimes had no right to justice because their compensation exacted a price from a struggling German society — as it certainly did?

    I don’t believe it’s an accident that Mandel’s position dovetails with the priorities of rabbinic leadership, which still regards abuse victims as threats to the prevailing order. When you privilege an abuser’s family members above the victims, you help to maintain the stability of a social structure, but implicitly — and inevitably — you favor that stability above justice, which in effect makes our social structure complicit in injustice. The same thing happens when you tell victims that exposing a rabbi’s abuse is bad because it undermines the prestige of the rabbinate. (This very claim was reportedly made to victims of Moshe Eisemann.) It’s true that part of the damage done by a perpetrator-rabbi is the disgrace he brings upon the rabbinate of which he’s a member. But if you take that fact as justification for silencing his victims, you might as well admit that the rabbinate, and all it stands for, is a kind of organized crime. Does THAT promote the rabbis’ image? Does it promote anything that decent people should want to promote?

    In a way, the rabbis are right to see victims of abuse as inherently subversive. Because any real notion of justice for survivors is necessarily at odds with this sort of social prioritizing. And that’s a damn good thing — if you ask me. If you insist on prestige and authority, or even social stability, at the price of justice, the only thing you’re going to have in the end is a mafia by another name. Some people may be comfortable with that. Religious people cannot be.

    • Your comments, including those about the mafia, power etc are completely correct, This is part of the evidence I have given in the past, and will be part of my evidence to the Royal Commission delving into (in particular) the 2 Chabad Yeshivah Centres in Australia. An uncomfortable truth which most prefer to deny or ignore…

  14. Ironically, it’s the most devoutly religious people who are the most likely to support the rabbinic mafia in the name of Daas Torah.

  15. Today, I heard an experienced social worker (religious Christian) ramble on about an admitted child molester who has gone to prison for only 18 months. She actually began crying as she talked about how he had a difficult upbringing and how now his life is ruined because of one mistake with a 15 year old girl who supposedly came on to this nearly 30 year old man. His life is ruined because he is now a convicted child molester. Poor guy.

    To which I say: have we gone mad?

    This sort of nonsensical thinking is contributing to the moral erosion of our society. There are no boundaries. The abuse excuse reigns supreme.

    As for our insane subculture, Michael Lesher is completely right.

    The only way things will change is if we the people demand change. Change will not come from the top.

    • I agree with your sentiments, but I’m wondering which people you expect to demand change, and from whom to you expect them to be making this demand? Sorry, I’m feeling a bit bitter after speaking to a coworker who told me her granddaughter is going to Binas or Chedvas. She said her daughter doesn’t care about what happened in these seminaries, and is perfectly comfortable sending her child there.

  16. There are 152 reasons why this person must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. (That’s the number of victims found so far.)

    • 5t resident,
      Please subtract one, making it 151. Bethany Mandel evidently is an acolyte of Hillary who one can see on youtube, at a speech delivered at Georgetown U. stating that we need to have empathy for our enemies. . Yes, empathy and respect. Google youtube 12/3/2014 Killary at Georgetown U. speech proposing “showing respect even for one’s enemies” “and insofar as psychologically possible empathize with their perspective and point of view”.
      Is that a Jewish or a Christian POV??? In any case, we must respect and empathize with Bethany in putting Freundel’s family’s welfare before that of his victims, all 151+ of them. Bethany is at some “higher” moral level, incomprehensible to some of us.

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