Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Strong Presence

Continuing from yesterday's topic, Greg over at Presence has posted a summation of R' Gottlieb's speech at Shomrei Emunah in Baltimore regarding sexual abuse, along with his own take on the speech. See the comments as well. Excerpt: [emphasis mine]
The Va'ad is in the process of putting together a systematic approach that will delineate proper behavior in an effort to prevent sexual abuse, such as guidelines for schools and educators. As an example, the Va'ad is looking to the city of Chicago, which recently formed a special beis din to address claims in an open and forthright manner. This will hopefully help prevent incidents of sexual abuse from occurring, as well as help ensure an open process of addressing incidents that do arise, God forbid. There is also the very real concern of false accusations, which, R. Gottlieb also mentioned, has occurred as well.
My own note on the speech - it's nice to see that the focus is not only on awareness of abuse and punishing those who commit such abuse, but also on making sure the abuse does not happen in the first place. This is a side of the issue that sometimes seems to be forgotten because of the strong focus on exposing the crimes that have already happened.


  1. Kudos to them. Better late than never, and it sounds like they're putting forth a real good-faith effort.

  2. I heard you were in Baltimore for yom tov; sorry I missed you...again. ;)

  3. R. Gottleib did not offer any solutions to the problem - he simply told the congregation that a problem exists. What we need is for someone to get up there and tell us what they are doing about it. Not what they are going to do, what they are thinking about or what their neighbor thinks they should think about. How are they actually going to deal with allegations? How will they protect the accuser and the accused while the allegations are being investigated?
    By now, many are aware of the almost "infamous" article that has yet to be published. Why was it so important that R. Gottleib speak about this on the last day of Pesach - when most of his own congregation was not even there?
    Community leaders would be wise to start living up to their title. That includes setting up strict guidelines, in coordination with experts in the field, on how to deal with abuse issues – whether they are sexual, verbal or physical. The protection of the accused should be no less important than the protection of the accusers. Allegations should be brought before a court of law, not of public opinion.
    R. Gottleib is a smart man. But experienced he is not. The next time R. Gottleib (and the rest of the Vaad for that matter) speaks about this issue, he would be wise to offer a solution to a serious problem that exists in the Jewish community, not a knee-jerk reaction to an article that has yet to be published in an effort to protect his own interests

  4. JA - I think so as well.

    Greg - Yeah, I looked around, you were nowhere to be found. Again. :)

    Anon - From what I hear, he is explaining exactly what is being done. Why the assumptions that they did not speak to experts? And isn't what they're doing specifically meant to avoid a court of public opinion, while protecting everybody?

    I'm not sure you're doing anything more than complaining with no basis. Please state what exactly you had wanted him to say in the first real speech on the issue.