In the latest high-profile sex scandal in the New York religious community, claims of sexual abuse and cover-up of these acts in the 1970’s and 1980’s at Yeshiva University have emerged in the last few days and have attracted extensive media attention.  Owning 5WPR, a NY PR agency and as an involved concerned Jew whose children attend Orthodox Day Schools I am very cognizant and concerned about Jewish portrayals in the media.

If you aren’t following the story, yesterday the President of Yeshiva University (YU) issued a carefully worded apology regarding claims of child abuse made against YU staffers which offered victims YU’s “..deepest, most profound apology.” Rabbi Norman Lamm, the Chancellor (who was YU President at the time) never notified police of the acts and admittedly allowed the abusers to quietly leave YU and go on to teach other kids. Lamm told the media yesterday that “This was before things of this sort had attained a certain notoriety.”

As one who attended schools in New York City during this time period, I’d assure anyone that child abuse and molestation has always had “a certain amount of notoriety.” Shame on Norman Lamm for turning a blind eye and enabling these acts to continue.  YU covering up and protecting those who abuse children are despicable actions – and the furthest thing from “religious” behavior.  This issue is not only about child molestation – it is an institution turning a blind eye. An awful story for a so-called institution of higher learning to tell.

It infuriates me for anyone to dare claim they are religious to behave in this sort of manner. One cannot be a “religious Jew” simply because they pray and don tefillin daily.  Morality and decency are required. Perhaps on the heels of the rightful indictment of Satmar counselor Nehamaya Weberman for repeated rape of a young girl, there should be a little less chumash study in yeshiva and a little more on normal ethics and decency

I find myself wondering why these people are referred to as religious, or Orthodox.  Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the Zionist prophet said “Silence is despicable” – and the fact that Lamm and who knows how many others said and did nothing must be addressed. Joe Paterno turned a blind eye and was rightfully fired – should we demand any less from a Jewish yeshiva?

“Rabbi” Norman Lamm must be fired immediately – turning a blind eye and being silent is despicable. There must be an immediate investigation into this matter immediately.

 

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