In September of 2013 FailedMessiah reported on a petition asking Rabbis to Condemn Harassment and Support Victims of Abuse. The quote from the page reads as follows:
Petition Asks Rabbis To Condemn Harassment And Support Victims
“…we must publicly condemn the shaming and bullying that many sexual-abuse victims experience following their ordeals. Victims of these horrific crimes are entitled to our communities’ support and encouragement. In the alternative, victims will fear speaking out and we will be complicit in their suffering.”
In 2013, the petition received a response which, as time has told, was little more than lip-service to a family that had suffered. We wonder whether the Rabbi who issued the response has taken any further action in preventing abuse and intimidation. If the information available on his site is any indication… we have our answer.
The text of the Change.org petition reads as follows:
Rabbonim: Please issue a statement supporting Nechemia Weberman’s victims and condemning the harassment they continue to suffer.
Miriam Pearlmutter Cleveland Heights, OH
Despite Nechemia Weberman’s conviction, Mrs. Deutsch and her family continue to be harassed and intimidated by members of the religious community. In the most recent display of baseless hatred, she and her family were shamed during Rosh Hashanah davening and made to leave their shul. This event was chronicled in secular newspapers, such as the New York Post.
We, as the Orthodox community, cannot allow this Chillul Hashem to go unaddressed. This is not who we are, and we must publically condemn the shaming and bullying that many sexual-abuse victims experience following their ordeals. Victims of these horrific crimes are entitled to our communities’ support and encouragement. In the alternative, victims will fear speaking out and we will be complicit in their suffering.
The specific Rabbonim asked to issue a statement are: the Agudas Yisroel (Chaim Dovid Zweibel,Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, Rabbi Shlomo Gertzulin,Rabbi Labish Becker); the Orthodox Union (Rabbi Simcha Katz,Rabbi Steven Weil); the Rabbinical Council of America (Rabbi Leonard Matanky, Rabbi Mark Dratch, Rabbi Basil Herring, Rabbi Barry Kornblau); National Council of Young Israel (Rabbi Perry Tirschwell, Rabbi Chaim Leibtag); Chabad- Lubavitch (Rabbi Osdoba, Rabbi Schwei, Rabbi Braun, Rabbi Heller); Satmar (Rabbis Aaron and Zalman Teitelbaum); and the Beis Din of America (Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz; Rabbi Mordechai Willig,Rabbi Yona Reiss,Rabbi Shlomo Weissmann).
Suggested statement text:
We, (name of organization), reiterate our support for victims of sexual abuse. Without reservation, we condemn any conduct intended to intimidate, harass, or bully these victims into silence or as punishment for any perceived violations of Torah law, such as mesira. Any individuals participating in such heinous conduct commit the gravest of sins and disregard the very foundations of Judaism. Victims of abuse deserve no less than our communities’ full support and encouragement during the healing process.
Agudas Yisroel Rabbi Avi Shafran
Orthodox Union Rabbi Weil
Orthodox Union Rabbi Weinreb
and 3 others
Young Israel Rabbi Tirschwell
Young Israel Rabbi Leibtag
Beth Din of America Rabbis Schwartz, Willig, Reiss,and Weissmann
The return letter, little more that a “thank you for writing and happy New Year,” read as follows:
Sep 17, 2013 — The RCA responded to our petition:
Dear Ms. Pearlmutter,
Thank you for your note and your efforts in circulating the petition on change.org. We share your outrage. We have repeated our position on abuse many times in the past and even issued a statement specifically citing the Weberman case available on our website at: http://www.rabbis.org/news/article.cfm?id=105726.
As we work toward a time when all of the members of our community are safe from abuse and intimidation, and all members of our community act and respond responsibly, I pray for a year of peace, tranquility and safety.
הרב משה בן ציון דראטש
Rabbi Mark Dratch
Executive Vice President