As you read this, remember Rabbi Avi Shafran works for Agudath Israel of America, and some of the most damning alleged incidents of rabbi-on-boy sexual abuse took place at their boys camp and under their watch. Also remember bloggers exposed this abuse. Further, Agudath Israel of America has opposed steps to end rabbi-on-child sexual abuse, including a proposed New York State law mandating background checks for all employees of religious schools.
There was a time, not terribly long ago, when disturbed individuals bent on broadcasting angry fantasies had only soapboxes in public parks from which to rant. And respectable people knew, if only from the ranters’ appearance, to keep well out of spittle’s range.
Today, though, the very means of mass communication that enables so much worthy information to reach such large numbers of people at the speed of light – the Internet – has also been harnessed to spread madness, hatred, lies and (not a word to be used lightly but here entirely appropriate) evil. And so, close on the heels of the swindlers and pornographers who have colonized so much of cyberspace, have come the gaggle of electronic soapboxes known as weblogs, or blogs.
The writer of a recent article [here in PDF, sent last week by a reader who got it from Hirhurim, I believe] in the Agudath Israel monthly The Jewish Observer expressed chagrin at discovering the nature of many Jewish blogs. Often anonymous as well as obnoxious, some of those personal opinion-diaries, he found, display utter disregard for essential Torah ideals like the requirement to shun lashon hora and hotzo’as shem ra; to show honor for Torah and respect for Torah scholars. I would have added basic fairness to the list. And truth.…
Responsible bloggers don’t deserve to be lumped together with the louts and understandably chafe at having their entire enterprise tarred with the sins of individuals. Unfortunately, though, those individuals and their sins comprise the bulk of the blogosphere. Those who counsel avoidance of blogs are no different from those who advise against frequenting dark, crime-ridden neighborhoods. There may be bargains to be had in such locales, maybe even a good library or pizzeria. But they are scuzzy places to spend time in.
The Internet in general is, pace the popular arbiters of societal propriety, not a healthy place to hang out in. That is why our Gedolim have frowned upon its use altogether for any but essential purposes like livelihood. They feel that the windows it opens to every corner of the wider world allow in not only some sunlight but much pollution of the most pernicious sort.
But even if business or other life exigencies require individuals to utilize the Internet, there are dark corners of the Web that are filled with venomous spiders, that pose extraordinary risks and should be avoided at practically all costs. The blogosphere is a particular infested corner.…
This is time for zero tolerance, both of rabbi-on-child sexual abuse and of the rabbis who cover for it.
Rabbi Shafran is one of those rabbis, consistently showing far more concern for the honor of rabbis and Torah than he does for the innocent children raped by his rabbinic colleagues.
Rabbi Shafran should not be employed anywhere in public Jewish life. Sadly, the same is true for the rabbis who employ him, and who have made blogs and the Internet a greater evil than the rabbis who rape and abuse defenseless children.