Aug 21, 2011

Are Hareidi Kids at High Risk of Abuse? (video)

Are Hareidi kids at high risk of abuse and/or molestation? I have asked this question before, and I ask it again.

I hear that today would have been Leiby Kletzky's 9th birthday. The horrific murder of Leiby Kletsky has prompted a lot of 'chashbon hanefesh' in the USA and throughout the Jewish world. Both the Aguda and RCA have published statements, focused on how people ought to respond to knowledge or suspicions of child abuse.

At the same time, in Melbourne, the whole frum community seems to be in disarray after exposure of several long-standing abuse allegations. Here in Israel, charges have just been brought against a Hareidi gang of alleged pedophiles who are accused of attacking dozens of kids in Jerusalem. Here in RBS there have also been a spate of arrests over the past year or two in similar cases, with one case being broken as recently as this past week.

Whatever the general situation "out there" is, parents today have to be much more vigilant in protecting their kids, and even in preparing their kids properly to deal with such attempts.

To that effect, Rabbi Yakov Horowitz just published a book with Artscroll/Mesorah to teach parents to do just that. How to stay safe. And the book is called "Let's Stay Safe"


  1. Yes, yes, an emphatic YES! Chareidi kids are more susceptible to abuse/molestation for a number of reasons:

    1. Until quite recently, parents' natural and understandable tendency to want to preserve our children's temimut has held us back from discussing personal safety issues with them.

    2. On the whole the chareidi community does not have a healthy understanding of sexuality within a Torah context; I'd say it's much more of a Catholic view. When one is uncomfortable with healthy sexuality, they will be completely stupefied as to how to respond to abnormal sexuality.

    3. The way abusers/molesters have been (not)dealt with over the years (generations!) in the chareidi community has directly allowed the problem to fester and grow to epidemic proportions. Based on personal experience and credible stories I have heard from friends and neighbors over the past couple of years alone, I feel confident to say that there is at least one molester in almost every chareidi cheder in RBS, some have more than one. Knowing who has recently been arrested or is currently on trial for molestation, and the scope of their access to children, I would (under)estimate that at least 90% of chareidi children in RBS have been or currently are exposed to and in danger of a known molester. That's just the ones that have already been discovered. I see a huge problem of unparalleled proportions on the horizon for the upcoming generation of RBS teens. We may need to enlarge the park.

    4. The most significant factor is that most chareidi parents have simply disconnected their brain cells and blindly do what they are told to do by Rabbi, principal, "the gedolim" (of course without ever having spoken to a "gadol" directly). Before you jump to say this is not true, think how a chareidi would define chareidi: only one who listens to the rabbanim. Parents have chosen to abrogate their responsibility for raising their children and keeping them safe, and are placing their "trust" in people who are unqualified and have proven in the past that they cannot be trusted, directly placing their children in danger.

  2. Of course Charedi kids are a high risk of abuse.

    When leaders of the Charedi community forbid reporting and cooperation with authorities they remove the checks and balances that provide at least a small modem of protection and prevention.

    There is also the policy of musical communities in which perps are moved from one community to another. The unsuspecting new community usually does not have the perp on the radar screen thus exposing the kids to more danger.

  3. Beware of the REAL DangerAugust 21, 2011 11:40 AM

    RBS has been blessed with courageous individuals who work to spread awareness and prevention.

    Hats off to Magen who have at least planted the seeds for parents to know and understand how to better protect their children.

    Sadly there are community rabbis who have deemed Magen a "danger" when in reality it is their archaic policies that create the greatest danger.

  4. Rafi-can you post details of a case "broken this week". If an abuser has been formally charged, then you can be free to publish a name, or at least a school/neighborhood etc, so we can see if there are links with other accusations. It would be helpful.

  5. The case broken last week is the teenager who was grabbing little girls in the Revivim area. He was caught, ID'd and brought to the police. Thank you Magen for getting the word out. Another case that would certainly have been swept under the rug--to the detriment of the community and the offender himself--if not for the publicity by Magen.


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