Open Letter to Rabbi Mark Dratch

Dratch, Mark - large_medium


May 6, 2016 – Reposted May 18, 2016

Dear Rabbi Dratch:

I am hoping that you remember me but in the event that details have been forgotten over time, I will try to refresh your memory.

 On January 7, 2007 in the evening, you spoke before a small group at the Riverdale Jewish Center. You were presented in glowing terms by Jonathan Rosenblatt, then rabbi of the synagogue. You returned his compliments and spoke about your organization JSAFE – The Jewish Institute Supporting and Abuse-Free Environment. My husband and I attended the lecture in which you said all the right things about the need for the Jewish community to maturely face its problems with abuse. During the Q&A I asked you – in Rosenblatt’s presence – about the appropriateness of taking teens and young men unclothed into the sauna. Your answer left much to be desired.

 I made an appointment with you and we met shortly thereafter in my home where I disclosed that my question was in relation to Jonathan Rosenblatt and his behavior over many years.. We spoke for more than an hour. You told me that the flattering language of Rosenblatt’s introduction was not a particular sign of friendship but just normal rabbinic public language. However, I never felt that the issues had any urgency for you.

 The matter stopped there. You were not responsive nor did you return phone calls. We finally spoke many months later but it came about through the unlikely fact that your late wife, your sister-in-law and I took a class together and through my conversation with your wife, you must have felt obliged to call me.

 Frankly I was concerned when you were hired as Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America. I have not followed your career and can only hope that JSAFE did help some victims. However, it did not help Riverdale. 


                                                                                               Sura Jeselsohn


2 thoughts on “Open Letter to Rabbi Mark Dratch

  1. By the time I was 7 I knew not to laugh at those naked old Jewish men in JCC locker rooms. Now I’m 21 years old and one them is running for President!

  2. JSafe started with great fanfare and promise. Did it wind up doing anything at all?
    What was the stated reason for closing it — beside it doing nothing? It had great promise and certainly the problems it was addressing were not solved.

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