Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Soap Box

The Jewish Week had an article about a rabbi who is getting more popular in the Jewish renewal movement. According to the article, there are allegations that as an adult he had relations with a 14 year old. I am not mentioning names, to avoid spreading lashon hara, but it is all there in black and white. What bothered me was that his supporters wrote in this week to complain about the paper's spreading lashon hara, and there being a conspiracy of those who oppose his views. Rabbi Arthur Green who is apoplectic about the article notes in his letter that "... history includes some genuinely bad deeds done when he was quite young, some 20 years ago."

WHAT CHUTZPA. Just because he got away with it 20 years ago doesn't mean you can ignore what he did. Saying he is sorry or has made peace with G-d(for Simcha) doesn't make it right, except in the heavenly books, to which we are not privy. Admitting your crime, going to the victim, grovelling on the ground, begging forgivness, and paying every cent you make to cover her psychotherapy seems to me the proper way to start to repent. Loud public announcements of repentence and forgiveness only remind me of Jimmy Swaggert or Tammy Faye Baker's husband.

AND...

What do you think is going to happen when, after laying low for many years, you start to put yourself out as a leader of the people, a teacher, an example for others to follow? You cant just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. And, no, I don't think that sexual assault on children is one of those things that you can just ignore, just an adolescent mistake, and its worse that people who know make excuses for him. IF you think otherwise, put yourself in the position of the kids mother, or father. Kinda hard not to reach for the .357 Magnum.

carefully stowing away the soapbox, hopefully not to be used for a while.

Addendum: Protocols has a letter put out by Bayit Hadash regarding this person, and it contains a letter of support from a number of rabbis, including Saul Berman. The Awareness Center website has additional information regarding the allegations.

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