The Forward has an excellent article on the tension in the Baltimore community after the Baltimore Jewish Times published an article on Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro, a man who, if the testimony of victims – some as old as 64 – is believed, sexually molested boys in the Orthodox community for 40 years. In the article, another Agudah hack, Rabbi Abba Cohen, is quoted:
“We were outraged by the way they dealt with the molestation case,” said Rabbi Abba Cohen, a prominent rabbi living in Baltimore who heads up the Washington office of the ultra-Orthodox Agudath Israel of America.
“The person who is accused is dead,” Cohen added. “We need to ask what good does publishing his name do and what harm does it cause his family.”…
“What are they going to do next? Have a molester of the week feature?” Agudath Israel’s Cohen asked.
Agudath Israel of America just came out against a NYC proposal to regulate religious day care providers. On of the highlights of the proposal is mandatory criminal background checks for employees.
"The concept of permitting is offensive to us because the permit process encompasses many things that relate to what actually takes place in the religious classroom," an executive vice president of Agudath Israel, David Zweibel, said. "Who is fit to be a teacher? How many students can there be in the classroom? Things that go to the autonomy of the educational experience, which to us in the religious community is a matter of religious freedom."
A proposed New York State bill mandating similar but weaker precautions, pushed by Orthodox attorney and victims' advocate Elliot Pasik, has been met with silence from Agudah and other rabbinic organizations. These groups have offered no support whatsoever.
For his part, Baltimore Jewish Times publisher Phil Jacobs has taken a heroic stand, in a community where Orthodox Jews make up 20% of the population, two times the national average, and where they are deeply involved with the community at large, and not ghettoized:
[Editor Neil] Rubin and Jacobs estimate that more than 100 cases of abuse occurred, with more allegations pouring in about Shapiro and others in the community. As long as abuse allegations continue to flow, Jacobs said, the newspaper would keep running articles on a monthly basis.…
Jacobs and his colleagues, however, say that they have no plans of giving up. “If it keeps a perpetrator away, then we go on with it for as long as we can,” said Jacobs.
This is all the more remarkable because Moshe Heinemann, arguably the city's most powerful haredi rabbi and a man who can influence how tens of thousands of advertising dollars are spent, called for a boycott of the Jewish Times in response to Jacob's story on Rabbi Shapiro.
If you haven't read this lately, take a look at the history of another serial rabbi-on-boy sex abuser, Rabbi Yehuda Kolko. Note the involvement of senior rabbis from the Agudah world in the coverup of Rabbi Kolko's crimes. Then ask yourself a question: Why are these criminals leading the haredi community?
The only answer is that we allow them to do so. This must stop immediately.