ASHER LIPNER : For the Talmudic scholars among us, it appears we have a scholarly debate about a ruling that says one must report child abuse directly to the police, and how to interpret it. The Jewish Press says that it means to go to the police. Rabbi Gottesman of the Agudath Israel says it means to go to the rabbis.
My vote is that we should allow the deciding vote to be Mrs. Bracha Goetz. She is an expert in the fifth volume of Shulchan Aruch: “Seychel Hayashar” (aka: “COMMON SENSE”). Which of course, as they say, is not so common. Especially among rabbis.
Rebbetzin Bracha says what every Jewish mother and every Jewish father knows deep in their heart: That you should never listen to rabbis when it comes to your child’s safety ( SEE : Shining Light on Sexual Abuse ).
They are not trained in these matters.
They have conflicts of interest: The molester often has connections, or davens, in their shul, and they feel responsible to protect the community’s image.
They are also afraid like the Gedolim, who have admitted publicly that their yeshivas could be sued. They can’t even utter the words sexual abuse. “Dvarim Megunim” (disgusting things) says Rabbi Gottesman. Too disgusting to tolerate naming it, but not too disgusting to actually stop from happening?
I am not saying they don’t care about your child’s welfare. I am saying that they care about other things, too. But Jewish parents put their children first.
So please report it if they are hurt.
The child you save may be your own.
Asher Lipner, Ph.D., an ordained Orthodox Rabbi, is Vice-President of the Jewish Board of Advocates for Children.
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