"It goes on and on and on unless we stop it. I say to you without any apology, you don't have to be nice to stop this. You don't have to be politically-correct. Call the cops; do something."
-- Baltimore Jewish Times Editor Phil Jacobs
BJT Associate Editor Neil Rubin reports:
BALTIMORE JEWISH TIMES Executive Editor Phil Jacobs received special tribute during this past week's Shalom USA dinner for his recent articles exposing sexual molestation in the Baltimore Jewish community.
His articles have focused on both bringing to light alleged perpetrators as well as the pain of their survivors, sometimes decades later. The articles, roughly one a month for the past seven months, have brought to light allegations against once revered rabbis, both living and dead, in the Baltimore community.
The response has been both laudatory and accusatory, resulting in letters and telephone calls from around the world.
Mr. Jacobs was given Shalom USA's Covenant Of Peace Award for "his courageous investigative journalism."
Rabbi Elan Adler of Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah Hebrew Congregation told the audience that Mr. Jacobs was "an unwitting hero of our community who took his professional life and his family life and put it on the line."
He added, "Phil Jacobs has stirred a hornet's next."
Shalom USA producer Larry Cohen noted that Mr. Jacobs had been the target of much animosity, including personal threats.
To Mr. Jacob's critics, he said, "We respond that for the defense of all of our families, Phil has committed an act that will save lives and the spirits of our children … With his articles, Phil has warned our leadership that if you will not lead, if you do not do the right thing, we will."
In response, Mr. Jacobs said he was representing survivors of molestation, and wanted those present to know how painful the investigation has been.
"I want you to know that all of this hurts. It hurts right here in my heart," he said. "It hurts in my mind and it hurts in my soul. My faith in the system has been shredded. This isn't ever why I want to be honored."
Noting the High Holiday season, he said, "I ask God every day to direct, to help me make decisions. I stand before God just like you do these Days of Awe … and I know that I don't walk alone."
In concluding, Mr. Jacobs added, "It goes on and on and on unless we stop it. I say to you without any apology, you don't have to be nice to stop this. You don't have to be politically-correct. Call the cops; do something."