Not much, apparently. Rabbi Stanley Z. Levitt just pleaded guilty Wednesday to sexually abusing three 6th graders while he taught at Maimonides High School in the middle to late 1970s. He was sentenced Thursday to 10 years probation and forbidden to have unsupervised contact with children below the age of 17. He also has child sexual abuse allegations from after his time at Maimonides, and he pleaded no contest to one of them in Philadelphia in the 1990s. So? How did Boston shuls deal with Levitt this Shabbos after his very well publicized guilty plea?
According to someone who was in Boston this Shabbos, local Orthodox and haredi rabbis did not handle Rabbi Stanley Z. Levitt's presence very well.
Levitt, who as I noted above just pleaded guilty to sexually abusing three boys, went to one shul where he was told by the rabbi (after members confronted the rabbi about Levitt's presence) that he could not return.
But Levitt simply went to a nearby shul and, even though that shul's rabbi and leadership was informed of Levitt's guilty plea – a plea made just three days earlier that well publicized in the local media – they chose to allow Levitt to remain.
Here's a quiz for Orthodox and haredi synagogue rabbis and board members:
What is more important halakhicly?
1. Allowing a convicted pedophile to fulfill the mitzvah of praying with a minyan (prayer quorum) by allowing him to pray in your synagogue?
2. Protecting the children in your care by banning the pedophile from your synagogue and its grounds?
Hint: Child sexual abuse often destroys children. It can ruin their lives and it drives some to substance abuse and suicide. On the other hand, praying alone at home, while lonely, hurts no one.
I hope this quiz was not too difficult for you – although past experience tells me that for many rabbis, it probably was.