Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Other Side

When DovBear first linked to the New York Magazine article a few days ago, I immediately commented:

What's annoying is that a few rants against Jewish practice in general took away from the article - and I'm sure some UO* will point to that and say, "Look, they hate Jews!" and just shrug off the whole thing.
* I shouldn't have written UO.

Over the last few days, I discussed which portions I did not like with a few people, but never bothered to post it. In retrospect, I should have. Today, Steven I. Weiss of Canonist became was the first person to do just that, criticizing the shallow level at which much of the article was written, noting the inherent biases within. Weiss also was good about not therefore shrugging off the rest of the story, noting the fully-sourced Framowitz story.

The one aspect that I specifically would have been interested to see which he did not mention (Weiss was not getting into many specifics in his post) is the allegation that R' Scheinberg ruled that it was not abuse and therefore nothing was wrong. As I said to someone in an e-mail,
A few notes: I don’t buy the R’ Scheinberg part. What I *do* think is possible is that someone asked him a very misleading question, and used that for their own purposes.
There is plenty more to discuss, but please check out Weiss' piece. (You may want to ignore the comments section, however.)


  1. SIW did this the day the article came out.

  2. My bad, thanks. I only saw it today, didn't check the date.

  3. I think this lawyer, a veteran of the Catholic scandal has a problem with Orthodoxy. There is no Diocese. You can't truly claim there is a problem with the Jewish heirarchy, when there is no technical heirarchy.

    BUT, there are a few rabbis almost universally accepted by all. They may not have the authority to ORDER other rabbis as their adminstrative superiors, but they are recognized as the de facto leaders of Orthodox Judaism.

    Now if I want a multi million dollar scandal/lawsuit, I don't attack 1 Rabbi at 1 school, I indict the entire community, implicating hundreds. The bigger the scandal the more the payoff. How do i do that? Implicate the leader of orthodox Judaism in my lawsuit!

    It is possible, (I can not cofirm or deny this) that Rabbi Sheinberg has been completly misquoted or taken out of context to provide the organizational charge of corruption lawyesr need to make the big headlines and win the windfall lawsuits.


  4. Dag, while there is no official type of "diocese" in Judaism, as the Ultra-Orthodox sects, in their catholicization of the religion, have created hierarchies. If it comes out that this abuse was known all the way to the top members of the community, it would not at all be surprising. You can judge this based on any norms. They don't exist in that world. It's sad but true.

  5. If it comes out that this abuse was known all the way to the top members of the community, it would not at all be surprising. You can judge this based on any norms. They don't exist in that world. It's sad but true.

    I don't fully agree with that. More likely, this was kept internally. There is no direct hierarchy from the people in this case (for example) and top Rabbonim in Israel (or even America), and there would be no reason for them to involve themselves in such a cover-up.

  6. Agreed heriachy means that such behavior did not necc make its way to the top....But I will say, if the story about Rabbi Sheinberg IS true (don't know that it is) and he felt that what was done was not was still an aivera...if he heard a Rabbi ate Triangle K, I presume his Rebbe career would be this not worse?

  7. *If* it's true. I don't buy it right now.

  8. He needs to respond...yes or no....the longer he waits, the more poeple will believe there is something to hide....

  9. I'm not sure he'll ever find out.

  10. Ezzie, keep in mind that the R' Scheinberg allegation was in the lawsuit. If you have an issue with the allegation, your beef is with the plaintiffs and their lawyer, not with the New York article.

  11. Krum - Two seperate things, actually.

    I think the Scheinberg portion is possibly as I said in the post. Separately, I think the tone of many portions of the article were slanted against Orthodox Jews, similar to what SIW posted.

    I should have made that more clear in the post, sorry.

  12. oc,dag,krum,ezzie,whoever - and we've seen how succesful those chassidishe hierarchies have been with their respective communities. feuding leaders makes the news and sends a wonderful hashpa'a to all jewish communities. of course all the chessed that they do will never make the news. but if the hassy's actually did spend some money on pr, whose brilliant idea was it to turn that thing into a mud-slinging political campaign? i know this isn't the proper thread, but it does tie in to the overall missuse/irresponsibility of power and dissemination of falsified or unconfirmed info that seems to plague just about every jewish issue that deserves some level of attention.
    one of the most annoying things now is that we'll probably never find out what R' Scheinberg really said, cuz who's gonna go chase him down sorotzkin just to ask him, "hey rabbi, did you really say it's ok to molest kids?" and i'm sure most of us are aware that information doesn't move as fast in mattisdorf as it does in the blogosphere. stories on the net get old after two or three days when they aren't on the front page of a blog anymore, or even when people have to scroll too far down the page. things could take weeks before they reach from one end of eli hacohen all the way to Torah Or, and it could be by the time an issue has blown over and been forgotten already. cuz even if we sit here and talk about this, we all know deep down how all the important people are just gonna forget about it like every other issue and the few people who continue to push it after the "leaders" have already addressed the issue (read: covered it up) will be looked at like a bunch of schnuks who are just trying to incite more loshon hora/anger/hatred or something along those lines. and the lawsuit will be going on right under everyone's noses and people who are actually affected by the issue will have also forgot about the fact that they now have a chance to speak out and REALLY address the issue that's been eating away at their entire lives for tens of years. so instead of addressing their problems in the proper and civil forum that has now opened, they'll fester for another 20 years until their kids become victims. and so goes the wonderful modern world of judaism we live in.
    personally, i believe that rebbi, and many others, have been molesting children ever since yeshivas opened in america. why do i so easily believe this stuff? cuz i know people in monsey that it's happened to. alot of people. and all i can say is thank g-d my parents didn't send me to that school.

  13. Great comment. (And I know about the school.)

  14. thanx man. i figured you knew what i was talking about. neighborhood... you know what i'm saying.