Friday, September 20, 2019

How To Stop Rabbinic Pedophilia

There are many things we can do to solve the problem of rabbinic pedophilia, including letting the authorities handle it and similar obvious best practices. 

(See video:

But there is a more fundamental problem going on here.

The rabbinate itself has become a monster.

It is a sprawling industry that lives off fundraising and exorbitant yeshiva tuition and kashrut supervision rituals and fees.

It lives off of overcomplicated methods of interpreting Jewish law such that there are numerous splinters and each splinter has its own authority and guides.

This is not “Torah Tziva Lonu Moshe Morasha Kehillas Yaakov.” It is not each Jew’s personal inheritance.

It is a system that belongs to a group of men who are part of an elite club.

And as part of the club they get to declare who is legitimate and illegitimate, who is good enough and not good enough, what is right and what is wrong - because they and they alone have the “secret keys” as opposed to well educated Jews being able to say “this just doesn’t make any sense according to Halacha.”

An example with kashrut is the extremism caused by the modern rabbis such that people who have become religious literally cannot eat in the homes of their parents except through the most tortuous workarounds. This breaks families apart in a silent way. It says to children - your parents are no longer trustworthy.

It goes without saying that there can be no unity in such a system.

There is nobody higher in the Jewish hierarchy than a tzaddik. To be a tzaddik is not just to be “a good person” but to be learned and just.

To be a tzaddik is rare. To be truly learned is rare. We need to bring the learning back to the people and get away from the corrupt rabbinate.

Get the money out of the rabbinate.

Stop looking to rabbis as experts in all things and stop asking for their permission to manage matters outside the purview is Halacha.

Recognize that the INSTITUTIONAL problem of child sexual abuse is only one symptom of a self-serving and self-furthering monster.

This system was not called for in the Torah, anywhere, anytime and iris destroying, not helping, the Jewish people.

Absent fundamental change (like pulling kids out of yeshiva and doing homeschooling with tutors; or breakaway minyanim at home; etc.) rabbis will continue to tinker at the edges, will say “just enough and no more” till the people quiet down.

The corrupt rabbinate is institutional

NOT INDIVIDUAL — meaning that individual people are typically well intentioned but can’t go up against the system and win.

Within a corrupt system, efforts such as kiruv are bound to be corrupt as well, with rabbis taking the opportunity to get inappropriately close to vulnerable people.

Change can come, but it has to come from us as Jews. We cannot wait for them.


By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal.

All opinions are the author's own. Public domain.