Monday, August 25, 2014
Justice for David Gordon z"l- Putting an end to sexual-abuse in the Jewish community
There’s a famous quote from Golda Meir that “Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us”. Perhaps we can paraphrase this quote in talking of sexual-abuse within our communities. Child abuse will end when we, as a community, love our children more than our institutions and those who work for, or run them.
Perhaps that sounds overly harsh to you, but if so, I challenge you to read this article by David Gordon z”l, the Israeli soldier whose life ended under circumstances that are being investigated. If your heart does not break, check yourself for a pulse. We rightfully cry over every soldier who is killed in war, and Gordon deserves no less. The fact that his enemies live among us and work at our institutions makes things even worse. “But what can we do?”, you might ask. It needs to be made clear to every person who works in our community that our number one concern is for the safety of our children, and that no institution, no matter how vital, and no individual, no matter how “choshuv” will be allowed to escape responsibility, both legally and financially. How can it be that there are heads of schools, shuls and institutions who ignored claims of abuse, who still hold their jobs? How can it be that money is donated to mosdos that covered up abuse within their midst? The fact that our community has, perhaps, gotten better at dealing with this, is not enough. The movement is too slow. Too often abusers hold onto their jobs, or are allowed to move on to another community, without facing criminal charges.
How many more boys and girls have to have their lives destroyed, unable to fight the demons and nightmares, while seeing their abusers walk around freely, before we get serious? How many more lives must be permanently altered before we take this issue of pikuach nefesh seriously? How many more families have to mourn for young people, who have so much to give and so much life to live, before we take this issue seriously?
Rosh Chodesh Elul begins (or has already begun) this evening. In less than six weeks we will be standing before HaShem confessing our sins, as individuals and as a collective. It is time to act so that we no longer have to say an “al-cheit” for standing idly by while lives were destroyed.