Should NCSY have a national award named in honor of the man who hired and then protected and enabled Rabbi…
…Baruch Lanner, the rabbi accused of abusing hundreds of boys and girls during his near-30 years in the OU's National Council of Synagogue Youth?
(A list of MO leaders associated with this event appears below.)
Lanner was eventually convicted of abusing two children, and the NCSY's own internal investigation, forced on it by irate parents and funders, found credible and often irrefutable evidence of dozens more.
The common cord that held all these abuse cases together through those 30 years was knowledge.
Over and over and over again, OU leaders were given evidence of Rabbi Baruch Lanner's abuse.
And, over and over and over again, those OU leaders chose to protect Lanner. They also chose to toss away Lanner's victims like they were rubbish.
OU and NCSY leaders protected Lanner because they did what was in effect a cost benefit analysis.
Lanner did great kiruv, missionary outreach.. He was charismatic and dynamic. For every victim there many newly Orthodox recruits.
So Lanner stayed at NCSY. He was not reported to police. No provisions were made to protect the children in NCSY's care.
But victims went public. The OU responded by smearing them. After initial successes, including a rigged beit din, religious court, run by Yeshiva University's Rabbi Modechai Willig, the OU's attempts to smear victims failed. Lanner was arrested, tried and convicted. In the aftermath, a small number of Lanner's enablers were forced out of the OU.
Chief among those enablers was Rabbi Pinchas Stolper.
Stolper founded NCSY and went on to head the OU, serving as its executive VP for nearly 20 years. Stolper hired Baruch Lanner and considered Lanner his protégé.
Stolper actively protected Lanner and allowed him to abuse. Lanner's kiruv outweighed Lanner's evil.
Now, rather than creating an award to honor the courageous victims that stood up and put an end to Lanner's evil, NCSY has instituted the Rebbetzin Elaine and Rabbi Pinchas Stolper Service Award.
Pleaase click to enlarge:
Here is a copy of the invitation's page that mentions the Stolper Award:
That's right – NCSY is giving its "service award" in the name of a man who stood by while dozens, perhaps hundreds, of children were abused.
Apparently, the message NCSY and the OU want students and their families to see is that following the code of silence, the omerta, brings you high honor. Being a 'snitch,' calling the police and putting an end to decades of rabbi-on-child sexual abuse? That brings no honor.
The OU never really finished cleaning house after Lanner.
An OU insider involved in trying to remove Lanner's enablers told me two years ago that most of those who enabled Lanner still worked for the OU and NCSY.
Lanner, he pointed out, was himself never fired – he resigned on conviction as his enablers still scrambled to protect him.
The same OU that covered for Agriprocessors covered for Baruch Lanner. That kosher symbol on your food is the same kosher symbol that was on Lanner's abuse.
You can even get a "service award" for enabling it.
UPDATE: I found a list of committee members and chairs for this event. A quick scan of the names turns up both BeyondBT's Steve Brizel (p. 8), disgraced former NY State Assemblyman Ryan Karben (p. 9), the RCA's executive director, Rabbi Basil Herring (p. 2), and the man who supposedly "reformed" the OU, Dr. Mandell I. Ganchrow (p .2).
And, sadly, so is Rabbi Yosef Blau, who is listed as a vice chair of the tribute committee (p. 2).
The OU's outgoing executive VP, Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb is also mentioned, but in an honorary capacity (p. 1). So are the OU's current president, Steven Savitsky (p. 1), Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm (p. 1), and Richard Joel (of the Joel report linked below in the documents section of this post) (p. 1).
But NCSY and the OU is not stingy with these honors. In fact, it honored Rabbi Pinchas Stolper himself. He's listed as an honorary chair of the tribute committee (p. 1).
Here it is as a pdf:
NCSY Stolper Tribute Committee Chairs.pdf
And, Uncle Joe McCarthy sent in a link to a blog post on the 2005 dinner.
Who received the Solper Award that year?
Please click to enlarge:
Public Summary of the NCSY Special Commission (Joel Report):
Invitation to NCSY's 13th Annual Ben Zakkai Honor Society Scholarship Reception listing the Stolper Award:
Lilith Magazine summary of charges against Baruch Lanner (pre-conviction):
Lilith Lanner Stolper.pdf
Rabbi Mordechai Willig's Rabbi Baruch Lanner Coverup: A Chronology:
Willig Lanner Chronology.pdf
[Hat Tip: DK.]