The Link between Teacher Charisma and Abuse

Rabbi Elli Fischer has an excellent post on the problems of charisma and how it enables sexual abuse. At its core, “hard charisma” voids the student’s sense of self, isolates them from peers, family, and the larger society, and makes them very dependent on their teacher, the point where the teacher can get away with abusing them.  I strongly recommend reading On ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ charisma in Jewish education: Toward a taxonomy of risk.


5 thoughts on “The Link between Teacher Charisma and Abuse

  1. Interesting. Just as a side note, an ad for Victoria Secrets was not really appropriate … I know you don’t have control over that, but still…

  2. I know I’m tooting my own horn, but I too made this argument in my book (Sexual Abuse, Shonda and Concealment in Orthodox Jewish Communities) in 2014. In particular, I critiqued those rabbis who criticized Baruch Lanner’s sexually abusive behavior but praised his teaching methods. In my view, these two items were in fact complementary.

    Teaching attracts many people who crave their students’ adoration. But these people can be dangerous as teachers. And what’s true for secular subjects is every bit as true when applied to religious teaching. It’s a poor commentary on a religious community when it confuses emotional manipulation with the inculcation of solid moral and intellectual values.

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