The Roman Catholic church has been accused of harboring known pedophile priests for many years and after a number of law suits, the Vatican was forced to recognize the problem and take stern measures to correct it.
Jews had never imagined that many of their rabbis and yeshiva teachers were accused of similar sexual crimes. Tragic and revolting it is that 44 rabbis and yeshiva teachers have been found guilty of sexually molesting young students. They have been indicted and are serving time in prisons. Also tragic is the fact that each of the 44 guilty were Orthodox rabbis in Israel, the United States and Australia.
In Israel, a former Chief Rabbi was found guilty of sexually molesting four young soldiers. Last year, Rabbi David Harrison, a teacher at the Beit Shulamit Seminary for Girls in Jerusalem was charged with a dozen counts of rape, sodomy, and forced sexual assault on a fourteen year old girl, a pupil in his class.
The sexual misconduct took place over several months. According to the complainant, the rabbi invited her into a room used by the rabbis and locked the door.
The JERUSALEM POST gave an explicit account which followed. “Harrison locked the door behind her and told her to sit down, whereupon he took off his pants and underwear and forced her to perform oral sex, while telling her that it was all right because he was a rabbi, that it was a secret between them and threatening to harm her if she told anyone”
He told her that if she revealed the sex acts, nobody would believe a 14 year old girl against a respected rabbi.
Following the complaints of the victim sometime later, the courts found Rabbi Harrison guilty and convicted him on multiple counts of rape, sodomy and sexual assaults against a minor.
In another revolting case, Rabbi Eliezer Berland, leader of the Shuvu Banim Hassidic sect, was accused of committing indecent sexual acts against many young females. When he became aware of the several complaints to the police against him, he fled from Israel and wandered for several years in different countries in Africa and Europe. Recently he was extradited back to Israel by a Dutch court to stand trial.
Most recently we have been faced with another revolting rabbi, Ezra Scheinberg, a leading rabbi in Tzfat (Safed) and Rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Orot Ha-Ari in that city. He is a married man and father of eight children and has now been indicted on twelve charges of rape, sodomy and sexual assault.
Over a period of ten years he has committed sexual offenses against twelve women who came to his office seeking religious guidance. Several women came to him to ask advice regarding their fertility.
The rabbi proposed his own method which he called “sex therapy” and began to have sexual intercourse with them on frequent “therapy” sessions. After some time, women brought complaints to the police about him.
When Rabbi Scheinberg became aware of the complaints, he attempted to flee the country but was arrested at Ben-Gurion airport. He is being held in prison pending a court hearing in August.
When his wife was questioned she stated that she was aware of his “sex therapy” program and claimed that her husband was only trying to help women who had not been able to conceive. “He was performing a mitzvah”, she said. Mitzvot like that we do not need.
Fortunately, the good news is that revolting rabbis are few. Only 44 of them are serving prison terms.
But the majority of rabbis and yeshiva teachers are dedicated, devoted, holy men whose purpose in life is to serve God and to be agents of His love, care and mercy to His chosen people.
Rabbis are respected men, filled with the wisdom of the sages who preceded them. Let us praise them and respect them while, at the same time, we hold in disgrace and disdain the few revolting and repulsive rabbis who dishonor our Torah and our laws of purity.
Kadosh kadosh tihiyu…. You shall be a holy people for I, the Lord your God, am holy.