That’s the opinion of Richard Chasman. He cannot think of any other explanation for a series of statements on the Website of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) that contradict previous RCA positions. He writes,
How else can you explain the strange statements on the website of the RCA…? It must be a plot to ridicule and destroy modern orthodoxy.
Mr. Chasman points to contradictions between the RCA’s position on reporting child abuse and Rabbi Yisroel Belsky’s views which the RCA tries to paper over. He writes,
Why there is a need for whitewashing Rabbi Belsky and why is the RCA is providing the whitewash……Belsky needs a whitewash (or some sprinkling with water containing ashes of a red heifer) Continue reading
According to the Asbury Park Press, Rabbi Yisroel Belsky said,
“When your child tells you something, you don’t go straight to a prosecutor, you go to a Bais Din and let them examine the (evidence).”
In connection with the recent guilty plea of Yosef Kolko, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) reported,
Rabbi Belsky informed us that he favors the reporting of credible suspicions of abuse directly Continue reading
The OU and RCA’s Failure to Confront Rabbi Belsky
For the last few weeks I have been blogging a lot about Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, Senior OU Kosher posek, who behaved like a gangster, slandering and trying to intimidate the family of the witness against his protege and musmach, Rabbi Yosef Kolko, just as he also worked to defend, his uncle, Rabbi Yehuda Kolko against charges in the past. Yosef Kolko pleaded guilty to multiple felony charge on May 15th. Yehuda Kolko pleaded guilty years ago.
I started out on May 17th reporting that Rabbi Belsky still claimed Kolko was innocent and followed with a longer post, Belsky is 0 for 2 on the Kolkos and Yet He’s the OU’s Posek. I was hoping the OU and its rabbinical arm, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), would either get him to recant or fire him. No dice! In fact his prominence inhibited them from even issuing the kind of statement they issued after Nechemya Weberman’s conviction.
Meanwhile they also ignored violations by Belsky of conflict of interest rules (negius) when he issued a ruling in Los Angeles that financially benefited his son-in-law (also here).
So, on May 30th I kicked off a series of posts with, Day # 16 Since Kolko Conviction and the OU and RCA Are Still Struck Dumb. That was followed with posts for Day #17, #19, #20, and #22. I tried to vary them but they all included a call on readers to express their outrage to the leaders of the OU/RCA.
The campaign led to a bizarre outcome. The OU, together with the RCA, issued a cockamamie statement that did not mention Kolko by name and made believe that Belsky actually supported the RCA position while it ignored Belsky’s role in witness intimidation and slander. That prompted my June 6 post, The RCA/OU Finally Responds to Kolko Conviction- Not With a Bang but a Whimper! It was an angry exasperated response. I followed on June 12th with more measured but forceful Open Letter to Rabbi Dratch, Executive VP of the RCA and someone who has worked hard to get the RCA to adopt an excellent policy position on child abuse.
I don’t know if my letter did the trick. But a few hours after I posted, the RCA (sans OU) came out with a statement that partially corrected the problems but still overlooked Belsky’s slander and witness intimidation. I lambasted their “clarification” with a serious posting and a parody. (Hint- don’t read the parody before the serious posting or you will miss a lot of the humor.)
For the record, this campaign is not over. Our children deserve policies and poskim who will protect them. Stay posted.
Also read an excellent series of posts about Rabbi Belsky on the Daas Torah blog of Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn.
Problems with the Brooklyn DA, Charles Hynes Continue reading
Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn updated his Daas Torah blog post “RCA Issues Clarification of Its Position on reporting Abuse – Kolko case & Rav Belsky” to question the RCA for not addressing some critical problems with Rabbi Belsky’s stance. He writes,
The RCA acknowledges it is bothered by the fact that Rav Belsky’s position on the Kolko case is inconsistent with the official position of the RCA [to go directly to the police with reasonable suspicions]. However they allow him to deviate in the Kolko case – because he claims he has investigated the matter and knows Kolko to be innocent. It fails to explain on what basis Rav Belsky has come to conclusion that Koko is innocent – despite the president of the RCA writing me that,
Concerning the Kolko case, Rabbi Belsky made it clear, based upon his involvement in the case, that he believes the defendant to be innocent of the charges and that the accusers are actually the guilty parties. He is convinced of this position, in spite of what seems to be overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
The RCA clarification also fails to deal with the fact that Rav Belsky has done much more than simply cling to the belief in Kolko’s innocence “despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”
1) There is no basis in Jewish law for calling someone a moser [snitch] if he has gone to beis din and received permission to call the police. 1) There is no basis in Jewish law for calling someone a moser if he received a psak that it is obligated to go to the police. In this case he received a written psak from Rav Moshe Sternbuch that he was obligated to report the abuse [update and correction]
2) Rav Belsky not only has proclaimed Kolko innocent but he accused the victim’s father of sexual abusing his own son and said that the victims’s father reported Kolko to the police only to avoid being blamed himself. This astounding slander – which has no basis in fact – does not seem to bother the RCA – why not? Rabbi Goldin claims – contrary to the obvious translation of Rav Belsky’s defamatory letter that
Rabbi Belsky did not accuse the father of abuse-but rather of rishus [wickedness]. He claims that the allegations were trumped up and that Kolko was framed and forced to accept a plea deal”. Continue reading
In response to mounting pressure, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) issued a clarification of a previous statement about the Kolko guilty plea. The RCA has finally gotten around to specifically talking about the Kolko case by name, something which I urged them to do over a week ago on June 2nd. They also finally got around to admitting that Rabbi Belsky continues to claim Rabbi Yosef Kolko is innocent in spite of three victims willing to testify in open court and four Lakewood rabbis willing to testify that he confessed to them. The RCA tries to make the best of Belsky’s views by claiming, that in theory, Rabbi Belsky agrees with them about reporting abuse to the police.
The latest revised RCA statement, “Decries any invocation of Jewish law or communal interests as tools in silencing victims or witnesses from reporting abuse.” Great! But how do they reconcile it with Rabbi Belsky’s infamous ruling about the Kolko case in which he wrote:
My ears should have been spared hearing the horrific news that one of your fellow residents in town [Lakewood] informed upon a fellow Jew to the hands of the secular authorities, may G-d spare us, for which the [Jewish] law is undisputed that one who commits such an act has no share in the world to come. (see: Choshen Mishpat 388:4)
After conducting a thorough investigation I am absolutely certain that R’ Y.K.[Yosef Kolko],may his light shine, is perfectly innocent of any wrongdoing of any nature whatsoever. And not only is he innocent but it is also as clear to me that all these allegations are fabrications made by [REDACTED].
Further, all the reports made to the secular authorities were only for the express purpose of casting blame for their[the victim’s family] own shameful and cursed existence on others. And the truth is that the allegations they make against others are crimes they themselves are in fact guilty of and they seek to cleanse their reputation by blaming an innocent man for their own deeds. Continue reading