Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Child Molesters and Those Who Protect Them, Cannot Be Called Religious Jews

May 18, 2012 7:58 pm 11 comments

Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn. Photo: wiki commons.

One could pray 100 times per day, don a yarmulke, tefillin and tzitzit; yet those acts exclusively wouldn’t quality someone to be called a religious Jew. In recent days, there  has been much media attention paid to so-called “orthodox” child molesters and those within their communities who have defended them. There are a slew of different labels that may be appropriate for these individuals, but religious, and orthodox, are not befitting terms.

Various news articles have charged Brooklyn prosecutors with protecting child molesters in the insular ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. “Rabbinical authorities banned relatives of the abused from reporting the crimes to non-Jewish authorities; those few who spoke out were shunned — expelled from Synagogues, their children expelled from schools — or pressured into dropping their cases,” reads a recent New York Times editorial.

This behavior is simply sickening.

Much damage is being done to the children and their families, and Jews around the world have been shamed by these individuals. Last summer a religious Chabad court (bet din) ruled that the traditional prohibition against mesirah — turning in a Jew to non-Jewish authorities — did not apply in cases of sexually abused children. “One is forbidden to remain silent in such situations,” it declared.

Words do not exist to describe those who molest children. The fact that it happens is sickening, tearful and just horrendous and as a Jew it is infuriating to hear molesters, or those who protect them, described as “religious.” What makes a Jew or any person religious? One cannot be a religious Jew and a molester of children – I don’t care how many times a day one prays.

For me, as a 37 year old father, Jew, and as a human being, being religious first and foremost means not hurting anyone, being a good, honest, decent, person, and caring for my family and my community. Those who witness the horrors of young children being molested in schools and remain silent are not religious, nor are those who pray three times a day and then steal. They simply cannot be religious people and shouldn’t be referred to by the media as such.

I pray for the day that being a religious Jew means being an ethical person, and not simply wearing a certain garb or attending Synagogue on a regular basis.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading PR firm and an active Jewish philanthropist.

11 Comments

  • Sorry Sparky but they have kosher meals in prisons for a reason. Ones choice of theism impacts one’s character and values in no way.

    It’s cute the way theists seem to think their set of superstitions somehow makes them automatically better and thus bad people simply couldn’t share them!

    It’s a one of the many facets in the jewel of denial and delusion that is religion.

  • In response to Noah David Simon: “secular gentile courts”? This is America – and there are plenty of religious Jews in power in areas where Jews are being molested. I am more afraid of corrupt religious courts than corrupt secular courts. When it comes to child molestors, all boundaries should be down. Perhaps in the days of righteous men child molestors would be stoned and hung in the streets. Ronn Torossian is absolutely right with everything he writes here.

    • In response to Teddy..”in the days of righteous men…” What a wonderful phrase… There are some who are righteous, decent and a blessing to this world . They fight back the evil around them,many times alone, many times getting injured. They have spirit while we are afraid. For them, no matter the cost, they know what is right and what is wrong. These are the true heroes. They should go from strength to strength.

      I believe Mr. Torossian is one of them

  • Don’t confuse a few bad individuals with a bad way of life. If I were the orthodox I wouldn’t trust the secular Gentile courts for any crime. Child molesters are a horrible thing, but I would not trust outsiders to understand the extent of who and for what to prosecute. An inappropriate behavior might be wrong as well, but it is a far cry from blanket child molesters. Handing your authority over to outsiders is a bad idea.

  • Richard Levy

    Mr. Ronn Torossian: Appreciate these words and this commentary and its right on.

  • Alona Salita

    Ron, what a wonderful response to the articles that have been circulating recently. Thank you for expressing so eloquently what many Jews feel about the terrible crimes happening in Jewish communities.

  • Well said. As a Shomer Shabbat Jew, I applaud you for this article.

  • Well expressed article but picture was unnecessary. These tragic situations can be found in any type of Jewish community. Please take it down so stereotyping can be prevented.

  • It is sad enough that there are molesters in the Church. Are we, as Jews, no better than them to hide the fact that there are indeed cases that go by unnoticed?

    How many children’s lives have to be ruined before someone speaks out? Suicide? Outraged? Do you think for a second those that have been abused by their peers don’t think for a second that the world around them will always be out the get them?

    How is it rabbonim of large communities can allow such a thing to exist in their community? For them to be a part of their shuls, schools and community events- and be praised for it, and even promoted with in the ranks of the community! Even to be a principle of a school!

    It can be sickening to the stomach to know that people in the community who have connections to someone who has molested many, even have somewhat of a high ranking in the community.

  • Mr. Torrosian. No one could have said that better. Ethical, decent,good people. Those are the religious I knew when I came to this country.My teachers at Bais Yaakov. They left me with such a good taste for orthodoxy for the rest of my life. I am sure if they were here now, they would be applauding you for this article.

  • Lea Davidson

    Thank you for so clearly stating the real fac- clothing and rituals do not make a person religious, ethics and halachic commitment do.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Relationships Yossi Vardi Credits Pushy Jewish Mother for His Startup Success

    Yossi Vardi Credits Pushy Jewish Mother for His Startup Success

    Millionaire entrepreneur Yossi Vardi credited his success in start-ups to his Jewish mother continuously pushing him to do better, Daily Mail reported on Thursday. “Jewish mothers are never satisfied and nothing is ever good enough,” he said, adding that his mother, who died 15 years ago, used to compare him with his cousins and say he was “an idiot.” “For most of my life I have been trying to show her I’m not,” he continued. “I keep on trying even now.” Vardi, […]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Seth Rogen Unveils New Christmas Movie — ‘Will Open on Thanksgiving, Made by Jews’ (VIDEO)

    Seth Rogen Unveils New Christmas Movie — ‘Will Open on Thanksgiving, Made by Jews’ (VIDEO)

    Famed actor Seth Rogen on Tuesday unveiled with typical comic fanfare the trailer for his new Christmas film. The movie “was made by Jews… and opens on Thanksgiving,” Rogen pointed out on Twitter. The Night Before tells the tale of three “ride or die homies” celebrating one last debauchery-filled Christmas Eve reunion before they become too busy to keep up their annual tradition. In an effort to make the night as memorable as possible, they set out to find the “Nutcracka Ball – the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Art Can Inspire Faith; It Can Also Empower Destructive Ideologies

    Art Can Inspire Faith; It Can Also Empower Destructive Ideologies

    A June 2015 art exhibit, “The Transformative Power of Art,” at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, harnessed the universal language of art to convey an important message: “Our fragile Mother Earth faces the devastating consequences of climate change, a defining challenge of our time.” The exhibit also included sixteen portraits of people from all over the world who have “contributed to the common good of humanity in one way or another and have transformed the way we […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

    Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

    A 32-year-old Circassian Israeli Muslim Mixed Martial Arts fighter from Abu Ghosh says he takes pride in fighting under the Israeli flag, Israel’s Walla reported on Sunday. Like most Circassian Israelis, Jackie “the Punishment” Gosh was born Sunni Muslim. He became observant about eight years ago, and is now scrupulous in following his religion’s tenets, praying five times a day and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Gosh is also very proud of his Israeli nationality, and sees no contradiction between […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music New Mark Skinner Documentary Explores Jewish, Arab Rap Scene in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Mark Skinner Documentary Explores Jewish, Arab Rap Scene in Israel (VIDEO)

    A new documentary explores the lives and work of Jewish and Arab rappers in Israel and how the ongoing conflict in the region has impacted their lyrics, the U.K.’s Jewish Chronicle reported on Thursday. Hip Hop in the Holy Land is a six-part series co-directed by Mike Skinner, the British frontman of hip-hop group The Streets, and produced by Noisey, a music channel published by Vice news. The first episode, published last week, shows Skinner meeting with Tamer Nafar, the founder of one of […]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada 49ers Running Back Jarryd Hayne Apologizes for ‘Hurtful’ Jesus Tweets

    49ers Running Back Jarryd Hayne Apologizes for ‘Hurtful’ Jesus Tweets

    New 49ers running back and Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne apologized on Wednesday for a tweet in which he raised the age-old myth that Jews were historically responsible for Jesus Christ’s death. Reaching out to his Jewish fans, and the chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, Hayne tweeted: “To the Jewish community @DvirAbramovich #WeAreAllOne.” Underneath, he keenly included a screenshot of a text message to elaborate on his apology: “I sincerely apologize for my tweets on July 1. I […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Recalls Being ‘Extremely Surprised’ at Winning Miss Israel Contest

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Recalls Being ‘Extremely Surprised’ at Winning Miss Israel Contest

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot reminisced about her childhood in Israel during an interview published in this month’s edition of Vanity Fair. “I don’t remember this, but my mom told me that when I was three they threw a party on the rooftop of the house. They put me to bed, and I heard people coming into the house and no one came to me. I went to the rooftop and took a hose and I started to spray water on everyone, just […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Wounded Israeli Soldiers Unite With American Veterans to Help Their ‘Brothers for Life’ Heal (INTERVIEW)

    Wounded Israeli Soldiers Unite With American Veterans to Help Their ‘Brothers for Life’ Heal (INTERVIEW)

    An Israeli organization is helping wounded U.S. veterans move past their physical and psychological challenges by connecting them with injured Israeli soldiers who understand what they’ve been through. “What we discovered very early is that there’s no ‘professional, psychiatrist, social worker’ or anything like that [or] pills that can come even close to helping a soldier who fought in combat, who was wounded, who lost his friends. No one can help him like another person who’s been through exactly what he has,” Rabbi Chaim Levine, […]

    Read more →