In his Jan. 11 column, Gary Rosenblatt mused about what he, having broken the Baruch Lanner abuse story in 2000, has learned from the subsequent fallout over the past decade (“What I’ve Learned Since Lanner”).
Today, as we are confronted by perhaps an even more egregious scandal at Yeshiva University, the one question that has not been asked is what have our communal leaders, especially rabbis, learned about how to deal with this type of nightmarish behavior and why have many been silent?
Over time there remains a silent majority who stand around and collect their paychecks without so much as offering any comforting words, let alone taking action against the perpetrators. One rabbi in Bergen County, N.J.,
seems angry with those who have mustered the courage to finally speak out, saying they took too long.
Have any of the rabbis in YU’s own backyard signed on for an independent review of the institution? Are they hiding something? Are they concerned about offending anyone? As a child victim myself of Lanner, I can assure them that they wouldn’t offend me if they took time to care for their constituent communities.
Many of the rabbis involved in the Lanner scandal and 1989 Bet Din fiasco, which appeared to exonerate him, still serve in the same pulpits and academic institutions. Shouldn’t they be calling for transparency, and advocating for outing abusers and creating a healing space?
Enough is enough. If you choose to be a leader in the Jewish community that we hold so dear, step up — or step aside.
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