Yediot Achronot reported today (4-11-19) on kosher cell phones which deliberately block calls to centers for sex abuse survivors. It came to light because this practice is being challenged in court in Israel.
The “kosher phones” are serviced by telecom companies who accept the stipulations of the ועדת הרבנים לענייני תקשורת (The Rabbinical Committee for Communication Matters). See this Wikipedia article in Hebrew (which is pretty clear if you then use Google Tranlate) for more information on the restrictions embedded in these phone accounts and the ways in which Haredim are pressured into accepting them.
Sadly, Purim often leads to a spike in child sexual abuse. Alcohol is common factor in many incidents. Given to children it renders them more vulnerable. Consumed by adults, it disinhibits them. Worse, in the aftermath, the alcohol is used as an excuse and leads to the thinking that this is a one-time thing so it should not be prosecuted. Continue reading →
Yehudis Fletcher is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who testified against her abuser and has written about it. She does it to educate and to start the necessary conversation. She has sometimes succeeded but also encountered some weird stuff which illuminates the deficits in discourse about abuse.
To the survivors who were hurt by my errors, please know how grieved I am. Some will question whether the force of public pressure explains the timing of my statement and its public nature. In all candor, this pressure is no doubt part of that explanation. That fact should serve to encourage survivors and their advocates to maintain such pressure. (emphasis added by YL)
This is from a statement of apology for mishandling abuse allegations about Pastor CJ Mahaney of Sovereign Grace Churches. The author is R. Albert Mohler Jr, the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention and the largest Baptist seminary with some three thousand students. So this is a very big deal.
According to the New York Times, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, J.D. Greear,
Thanked the news media for “shining a light on the magnitude of this horrific sin,” and reminded his fellow pastors that journalists are “not our enemy.”
“We need to regard any exposure, any shining of light on abuse, as our friend, even if it makes us ask some uncomfortable questions about ourselves,” he said. “The safety of victims is more important than the reputation of Southern Baptists.”
He also called on Southern Baptists to repent for “a culture that has made abuse, cover-ups and evading accountability far too easy,” and for thinking that clergy sexual abuse is “a Catholic problem” or a “corrupt Hollywood problem.”
Rabbi Druckman, Agudah, and other orthodox leaders can take some lessons from the Southern Baptists.
In November, 2016, you hosted Israeli MK and Minister of Health, Rabbi Yaakov Litzman. According to Matzav,
Dr. Louis Emmer, President of the Young Israel welcomed Rabbi Litzman and told the audience, “Young Israel is proud to host Rabbi Litzman and that the Rabbi’s address demonstrates the close bond that Staten Island has with the State of Israel.”
Baltimore’s Rabbi Steven (Shmuel) Krawatsky (aka “Rabbi K”) and his wife sued two sets of parents who say he sexually assaulted their children at Camp Shoresh. They claimed the defendants hurt his reputation and cost him jobs at the camp and at the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School. For good measure they sued the NY Jewish Week which published the story and anti-abuse advocate, Chaim Levin who levied that complaint on FaceBook.
At the time of the suit I said it was all bluster, a feeble, but well funded attempt to limit the damage to his reputation and to the reputations of those who backed him sporadically. I am talking about his previous employers, Camp Shoresh and Beth Tfiloh.
Krawatsky’s defenders kept pointing to the lawsuit as proof of Krawatsky’s innocence. That is absurd reasoning. Anyone can sue. The trick is winning. If the other side backs down or settles with an apology or money, you have won.
But none of the cited defendants has done that. The Jewish Week has filed a response.
On Monday (2/18/19) the parents of the Becker and Avrunin children together with Chaim Levin filed their response, a countersuit asking for damages. The parents allege with great clarity, a pattern of grooming, sexual abuse, and compromising pictures of their children. Continue reading →