Thursday, 17 Nisan, 5784
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Don’t Burn Down the House

From the COLlive inbox: Do the schools see themselves above the law and are the activists vigilantes working outside halacha? Full Story

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To comment 74
March 17, 2016 8:12 am

1. If you’re going to mix the Torah into this, then the Rabbonim should be making the decision if a principal needs to be fired. If people feel that he acted wrong – take him to din Torah, and whatever the rov paakins is daas Torah. But to start a humiliating public campaign to fire someone, which the very nature of a “campaign” evolves exaggerations, gossip, and involvement of many people who either don’t know all the facts or don’t know Halacha (without getting into what the facts or Halacha are), is beyond me. 2. You say it’s not revenge.… Read more »

(To Number 72) I'm not sure why you use the term
March 15, 2016 9:17 am

Firstly, to clarify, there is something in this world called accountability. “Chayav” is the term that the Torah uses to refer to one who has been found “responsible”, and therefore, is accountable for a particular happening. As human beings, we are all held to account for the actions we take, and the affects they have on others. A principal’s job comes with a particular job description. Clearly, the first of which is to be sure that the community of students he is servicing are safe. Neglecting to think proactively to prevent things is one problem. Having a continuous stream of… Read more »

The JCW is irresponsible
March 15, 2016 2:43 am

If a person is alleged to be a child molester, this potential perp should be tried in a court of law, & if found guilty, he/she should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. In contrast, the JCW — run by a vengeful renegade and supported by well meaning sorely misguided folks– takes snaphots of accused individuals– who may or may not be guilty of child molestation– and plasters their faces on the web– entitled “Wall of Shame”. Question: What do you honestly think the Rebbe would say about the “Wall of Shame?” I would like to hear… Read more »

March 14, 2016 12:30 pm

Great point!

We’re sick and tired of this revenge mindset, where we go witch hunting for people who 30 years ago didn’t throw out enough teachers. There was no awareness about this horrible issue then as much as there is today.

We, normal parents, understand that 30 years ago people could make such mistakes (I’m not referring to people who actually abused children) and we know that nowadays everyone is dealing with the issue much better.

If you don’t like it, take your kid somewhere else. But don’t start becoming Mr. Policeman coming to prosecute our principals.

The Ends Do Not Justify the Means
March 14, 2016 10:06 am

Well written article. Sad to see many comments here professing the belief that the ends justify the means. Unfortunately, that is not Judaism. End of the issue.

62 - 66 - 67
March 14, 2016 8:35 am

Burning down the house is an act of revenge. If you care about the students – think about what happens when the house is burnt to the ground. The students will have to go elsewhere. So why wait until the publicity has worked its evil magic? If the kids are suffering – don’t write an article – educate your kids elsewhere! The parents who feel their children are safe should be allowed to send their children to the schools they trust. If you sincerely believe your child is in danger – take the kid out! There are alternatives. If you… Read more »

the others suffering
March 14, 2016 1:16 am

What about the blood of those children whose families are being shamed? Without a trial, din Torah or any tzedek viyosher? Do those blood not count. If things were done with trial, that’s one thing. … but when there’s no such thing. …. Our blood cries out too I assure you.

A point in the News week article
March 14, 2016 1:12 am

The author in Newsweek was saying that yeshiva students are ignorant of certain matters. Torah that deal with intimate subjects should not be glossed over when teaching children, such as parts of Braishis, the mincha reading of Yom Kippur, mitzvos in sefer hamitzvos, etc.. Rashi taught these subjects to 5 year olds.

I agree!
March 13, 2016 10:12 pm

I am sorry for what your child went through. There were many in the community who knew this was happening. Where their priorities are, I don’t know! It seems to me there comes a point when we have to go beyond the need to protect a group as a whole, in order to protect individuals that are in it when they are victims of such disgusting abuse. Priorities.

to number 62
March 13, 2016 9:16 pm

Thank YOU for speaking up because I care what You have to say.Your son suffers a life sentence and meanwhile the comments cry about the Newsweek article.Good for those who spoke up and expose the ones who violated and emotionally tortured souls forever.The rest of you don’t speak until you are in their shoes.

the pain of one Jewish child
March 13, 2016 7:53 pm

to #64. I am a mother of a child who was molested. numbers mean nothing to me. If one Jewish child is molested, the entire community is responsible. The blood of this one Jewish child cries out to G-d for an answer, and the entire community carries responsibility esp those in power

March 13, 2016 6:24 pm

Emailing the author is NOT a good option. Anyone who thinks they can sue a journalist, does not know the extent of freedom of speech. Plus, the author has the Newsweek lawyers to defend him. If it actually came to a legal battle (which it would not) the result would be more publicity for the article and the author. More negative publicity of Chabad. Even without the threat to sue, emailing the author will show that he wrote an article that got readers excited. That’s what the publication wants. Negative feedback is just as good as positive feedback. Maybe better.… Read more »

Personal Agenda of NWSWK Author
March 13, 2016 5:55 pm

Thank you Sruli Schochet for a well thought out, well written article on a delicate subject. When I read the Newsweek article, I realized that the victims were being victimized once again. Unfortunately, you were able to validate that for me. The author had an agenda. And he used the victims to further his personal views. He is against the education system in Chabad. That is why the house burning example in Sruli’s article is so appropriate. The article blames the Chassidic lifestyle for providing fertile ground for CSA. In an interview, the author is asked why there are only… Read more »

drastic measures are needed to expose falsehood
March 13, 2016 5:49 pm

My son was molested by a teacher in the Lubavitch school system. The administration knew about his problem for many years. I did not – nor did I ever think it could exist in our Mosdos. He is a brilliant young man; married with beautiful children. Very respected from the outside; very very hurting inside. It is cause for much pain in his life. I think the only way to deal with this is through the newspaper, because many respected people in the community knew about this molester; principle and Rabbonim and they allowed him to continue teaching/molesting for many… Read more »

Motzei Shem Rah you are all gulty
March 13, 2016 5:34 pm

remember if you agree with the article without investigating if all the people in that article are really guilty then you have to ask forgiveness to those who are wrongfully accused

show me!
March 13, 2016 5:19 pm

Where in the article does it say NOT to fire those teachers? It just protests the way some are going about it.

To 58
March 13, 2016 4:02 pm

There you go again. Making up positions that nobody holds.

Did anyone say ALL they care about is chilul Hashem, and NOT about kids being abused??

All that’s being suggested is WHICH method is the proper way to protect our children, and WHO should be dealing with it.

You people amaze me anew each time.

To #55
March 13, 2016 3:45 pm

if all you care about is Chilul Hashem, and not the abused kids, the real Chilul Hashem is the kids being abused, and it doesn’t matter who finds out about it a chillul Hashem is a Chillul Hashem,
The real point here is not Hashem it’s our kids safety
דרך ארץ קדמה לתורה, פיקוח נפש דוחה הכל

March 13, 2016 3:26 pm

The real chillul Hashem is not that it was reported on but that this sad situation exists at all in Chabad and that their way of taking care of the situation was to just keep moving the perpetrators to different places- all that dealt with children. You cant keep hiding the dirt under the rug, and the fact is this situation existed for a long time and many people knew about certain situations while there were others that were not even given the opportunity to decided if they wanted their children being taught by someone who had abusive tendencies. It… Read more »

March 13, 2016 3:11 pm

The real chillul Hashem is not that it was reported on but that this sad situation exists at all in Chabad.

accomplished chilul hashem
March 13, 2016 1:27 pm

the point is why did they have to go to Newsweek to print it?

To #53
March 13, 2016 1:26 pm

You obviously missed the point of this article.
Your entire comment yells, continue to burn down the house because no one has any better ideas.

To #37 and the rest
March 13, 2016 12:44 pm

Oh you want a more civil way of handling the issue??SO DO U HAVE A PLAN OF ACTION of your own?If not, then what are you criticising?You don’t like it?Did you have a child that was molested by someone???No???But you still don’t like how things are handled?Maybe sweep it all under the rug so chabad doesn’t look bad?keep up the good work UNTIL IT HAPPENS TO YOU Gd forbid.

Fair reporting
March 13, 2016 11:10 am

To the author: it seams that while you claim that you do indeed care about the victims of CSA, your outrage lies in the fact that Newsweek was not fair in their reporting, focusing on the “activists” claims. If that is indeed your stance, then I would think I would be expecting a follow up article that now will focus on the other side of the issue, i.e. The victims’/survivors’ stories, and the outrage that you feel that they were hurt, some lives ruined, and very few perpetrators have been brought to justice. To be fair right? Why is that… Read more »

quote the quotes as quoted, without 'circumvolution' just to make a point
March 13, 2016 10:49 am

In 1958 the major civil rights leader Martin Luther King who was influenced by Gandhian ideals used the aphorism in his book “Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story” [STF]:

Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert.

To 40
March 13, 2016 10:00 am

You misquoted the Rabbonim.

They said you can report child abuse to the police. They DIDN’T say you to publicize their names, which JCW likes to do even before the accused goes to trial. It takes one kid to make up a story about you and you’re in jail. That’s bad enough. Then you have some hothead publicize your name as a child molester without even letting the court hear the evidence.

Losing focus
March 13, 2016 9:51 am

Everybody is getting caught up within the article. Focus on the bigger picture – abuse happened in oour schools. What is being done for the victims? Were there cover ups? Who failed to act in accordance with their position? People should be demanding answers to the real questions …not get hung about an article that simply serves liftoach hatzinner….

March 13, 2016 7:15 am

Thank you #43 and many others, your point is not only a problem in CH it is all over, the truth will always be exposed, sometimes it takes longer sometimes quicker, but eventually it comes out, no matter how much power, money or influence you have in a community, there is a din and dayan, the real one that is justified and will bring justice to those that its coming,,,,, in addition, there is a “himul geshre” why so many youth are turning their backs to frumkiet, I don’t blame them nor think that i will do better in their… Read more »

Why Chabad was the focus of the Newsweek article
March 13, 2016 4:35 am

I think the reason Chabad was the focus of the Newsweek article is that we are the group who are fighting CSA. Our Beis Din is the one that says you have to report. So we have admitted that this has rachmonu litzlan occurred in our mosdos and we have taken measures to ensure that it won’t happen any more, while other groups’ Batei Din are still saying reporting is mesira. So since due to the efforts of the people who have raised our consciousness about this horrible issue and continue publicizing it to ensure we don’t have this any… Read more »

I agree with #22 and 26
March 13, 2016 4:07 am

We must speak up and stop this anti religious bias!!

CSA must be dealt with but not in this way!!

This is hateful incitement Newsweek must hear it from us

March 13, 2016 4:00 am

If you like this, send it!!! If you don’t write your own! But don’t remain silent, this reporter is clearly and openly attacking our religious way of life… [email protected] Dear Elijah Wolfson, Everyone agrees that CSA is a terrible challenge that we face, however there are more effective ways to solve this issue than by publishing such a biased article. Your article is simply an expression of your anti religious and hateful views of the ultra orthodox Chabad community. You should be ashamed. The Chabad movement is the biggest blessing and gift to the entire Jewish people. How dare you… Read more »

March 13, 2016 3:36 am

What about when there is a culture of fear to speak out? What then? When those who run the Moisdos actively intimidate people? Or when the authority of Rabbonim undermined? When a community does rise up and object to the lack of authority of Halacha and Rabbonim and are ignored? When they have no one to turn to?

very sad state of events
March 13, 2016 3:24 am

My friends son was abused by a teacher. She’s not going to report it because of all the reasons written in the article. unfortunately, everything in Lubavitch/and in the world works by who is stronger: has more clout and especially more money. Our only recourse is to pray for Moshiach

March 13, 2016 1:51 am

Great article. Great point.

To number 5
March 13, 2016 1:21 am

You are 100 %right when it come to the law but if they investigate and say that there is basis to the story don’t continue to pursue it you can’t decide when you want to use the law and when not

The Rabonim of this era paskened
March 13, 2016 1:12 am

The Crown Heights Rabonim of this present era paskened (ruled) to reveal their names as this causes others not to do these bad things to the kids.

Fully agree with this article
March 13, 2016 1:10 am

The vigilantes have tried very hard to destroy Chabad of Melbourne and have done heaps of damage in the process. On the other hand I have personally heard from a seriously hurt victim that gave his story to JCW and was totally ignored for political reasons.

Your friend who was misquoted should sue
March 13, 2016 12:41 am

That might help him a little bit

thank you
March 13, 2016 12:37 am

I fully understand and agree with everything that was written. it seems like some people didn’t get one of, or the main point of what the author was trying to write. (and we don’t have to analyze every word of his mashal of the rats or the middle east). it was the context. he’s not knocking down the importance of taking care of abuse. But the article put a terrible light on chabad, and especially our schools. I’m not knocking that things have to be improved. I”m a parent and I’ve actually seen and heard several of these incidents. but… Read more »

Forget the rats
March 13, 2016 12:36 am

Just because I am paranoid, it doesn’t mean people aren’t after me. Yes, the article was a hatchet job… but it doesn’t mean it isn’t true. The victims who came forward are incredibly brave and their abusers the lowest of the low. I called a teacher relative after I read it and I was told facts I wish I didn’t now know. What I found incredible is the absolute denial by OT in the form of a letter to parents. They don’t deny past abuse and insist there is nothing going on now. I don’t believe it: what they mean… Read more »

Thank you
March 13, 2016 12:30 am

God bless you sruly

The greatest devine providence!
March 13, 2016 12:21 am

The greatest divine providence is that all of this is finally coming out into the open, so it can heal, and change. No more covering up! This shameful system must and will change!

Thank you for perspective
March 13, 2016 12:06 am

So well written! This article follows the way of Torah which is the middle path. Btw, my friend had a horrendous case of rats and like the author said she did not burn down her beautiful house but spent a whole year getting rid of them. It was not easy but she succeeded by trying many different methods.

Denial and more denial
March 12, 2016 11:46 pm

haaaa.It is hilarious about how the poor innocent are being accused.REALLY????Well how about challenging the activists by taking them to a din torah or suing???You know why not?Because when the victims and their families come forward you know YOU do not want to face them!!!!yes,the evil accusers and the poor tormented sould who were falsely accused…and that is why I support the Newsweek.You remind me of someone who said he with the blue shirt murdered so and so and then someone says no it was a yellow shirt…it is happening and idc if it’s this chassidic group or that one,THEY… Read more »

you can be against CSA and against prejudice
March 12, 2016 11:13 pm

You can be a vocal proponent against CSA and still acknowledge that the article had serious prejudices.

Accusing anyone who dares point out that the article was very flawed, that they are pro covering up child abuse, is ridiculous.

A victim is in automatic expert?
March 12, 2016 11:11 pm

These so called activists or victims, are running around as if they P.H.D. In the psychology and remedy to this terrible problem?
Stop airing your dirty laundry for the sake of destruction.

front cover?
March 12, 2016 11:09 pm

Is this on the front cover of Newsweek? i hope not, what a chilul Hashem.
Don’t get me wrong I’m all for stopping these immoral murderers just don’t think Newsweek is being helpful in any way. Although some might feel they are.

March 12, 2016 11:08 pm

The yeshivas and Chabad may feel embarrassment by the article but what about the victims of abuse? You may feel upset that the article was focused on Chabad, but everything is hashgacha protis, Hashem’s will. Maybe ask why Hashem would want this article which focused on alleged abuse in Chabad and ignoring it. Perhaps it is because the Rebbe said that we must do all we can to bring Moshiach and the children of Tzivos Hashem especially have a spark of Moshiach so by dealing with abuse issues, somehow apologizing for wrongs done in the past if that is even… Read more »

The difference...
March 12, 2016 10:21 pm

The difference between burning down your house and burning down our system is that with the house- you’ll be left homeless and thus at a major disadvantage the nimshul though doesn’t leave you at any personal disadvantage which is why the mashul isn’t good in the first place. The end message of the article is entirely unclear. I don’t know if this was intentional, but you didn’t at all explain your not so obviously understood analogy– this is not creative writing. It’s I suppose an informative/ persuasive article. Care to explain?

Please take a moment to email the author
March 12, 2016 10:19 pm

“The article is geared towards Chabad and Chabad allegations alone. That is biased reporting.”

Please take a moment to email the author:
[email protected]

The "Article "
March 12, 2016 10:18 pm

Of course the real problem is not the children being abused is that someone pointed it out. Let us continue to Kill the Messenger. Let us just ignore the problem as before and let them house continue to burn.

Activists in our community are behind Newsweek article
March 12, 2016 10:18 pm

Clearly, many of you did not understand the point of the article.

What the author is saying is that the “activists ” in our community are the ones behind the Newsweek piece .

Anyone following this topic on facebook can tell you that the ultimate goal of these “activists” and their supporters is “to burn the house down” r”l . Our moisdos that were built with mesiras nefesh are meaningless and worthless to them.

My fellow lubavitchers, be very careful who you support – these ” activists” have their own agenda – they must be stopped before …

Have all recourses been taken?
March 12, 2016 10:18 pm

Yes the old traps did not work. But have all resources been exhausted to get rid of the rats? Pressure the school’s donors, parent body, board etc etc. There are no shortage of ways to fight the good fight. A Newsweek article, which is going nuclear, just a huge chillul Hashem which accomplishes nothing, is the equivalent of burning down the house mentioned in the article. Find other traps and means to do this. Don’t give up. But don’t go nuclear which ultimately hurts everyone, including the victims we are trying to help.

instead of writing here...SPEAK UP!!
March 12, 2016 10:17 pm

“The article is geared towards Chabad and Chabad allegations alone. That is biased reporting.”

I totally agree…

Please take a moment to call out this reporter by emailing him at:

[email protected]

Not through revenge!
March 12, 2016 9:50 pm

We must be aware of who’s dangerous and let anyone that might be harmed know about it as well, but When someone is running a organization based off revenge, he will attack anyone he thinks is guilty, even if there is no proof for it, (which unfortunately has happened in the past) that’s not the Torah way of doing things and not even a logical way of dealing with such issues. Just like we would turn the world upside down to save the life of a child, we have to be just as careful not to kill innocent people as… Read more »

Thank you
March 12, 2016 9:22 pm

Well written and clear article. Thank you for putting your name. What many are thinking but intimidated to speak out

Didn't understand the author
March 12, 2016 8:59 pm

What are trying to say? What is your message? Not to report molesters? To keep it under the rug? Or are you saying report the molesters, but not to the police? Very confusing.

March 12, 2016 8:40 pm

I would suggest cancer is the better analogy. Unfortunately it has gone unnoticed for decades. The treatment today is therefore more painful and risky.

We will preserver. We will allow the activists to perform the correct treatment as others have failed in the past. Those of us that are not activists will stand on the sidelines and daaven for their success and for the health of our community. Say a kaput al tehilim for: kehilas Chabad ben Adoneinu, Moireinu v’Rabeinu for a quick and painless yeshua from this machla.

March 12, 2016 8:38 pm

The article in news week is dumb. It’s dumb bc those in power to make a change from the outside and to those who are writers like Sruly got lost and distracted and no one is doing anything to help. Its dumb bc it lead OT to show off how they too are not doing anything ro help as they published a carefully composed letter that further distracted everyone as a form or reassurance but yet not one that addresses why they still have certain employees there. And it’s dumb bc now many ppl have read this who… won’t either… Read more »

activist are out of control
March 12, 2016 8:18 pm

the article assumes the fact that the activists are only interested in the safety of a child wrong! Many of the activists are self serving with their own personal agenda. No one is condoning child abuse except maybe the city itself. Yes the biggest cover up is by acs & other child welfare agencies of city & state. Everyone today is very aware & alert. Many activist including some locally are out of control throwing false allegations against different people & hoping something sticks for personal reasons. Abuse cannot be condoned or covered up. On the other hand The so… Read more »

Well Done!
March 12, 2016 8:06 pm

So many people are thinking this, and the Silent Majority is too fearful of speaking out because they will be harassed and intimidated mercilessly by a few vigilantes. Nobody will put their career and reputation at risk to speak out against this nonsense. Thank you Sruli Schochet, and watch your back!

To 5 and 9
March 12, 2016 8:00 pm

Thanks for proving the author’s point on biased media.

The author never said not to report child abuse, nor did he deny that the issue exists.

I’m sure they would gladly hire you at Newsweek…

just me
March 12, 2016 7:56 pm

well written. I get it BUT, Chabad is the most well known in the world and in the USA so obviously it sheds light on us. To compare to Middle East – there is an explanation here – while we know how biased the media is, Israel for example is always in the news. Lots of good stuff too. Israel is a small dot on the map and the globe. Think about that and your analogy. I will end by stating Newsweek as far as I know is not outwardly biased either to best of my knowledge. And I commend… Read more »

Beautifully written.
March 12, 2016 7:51 pm

Very well written. I really appreciated the optimistic tone, rather than complaining. I noticed how the author was especially sensitive and careful not to point fingers. Love the rat Moshul. What I take from hearing this and all the other news reports, articles and conversation, from all the voices on either side and in between, is that there is a severe lack of communication, as there tends to be between someone very passionate and someone who believes they have the situation under control. Both are closed to new ideas/thoughts from the other party. It’s so very hard to come to… Read more »

It's a lot more complex
March 12, 2016 7:43 pm

The problem is that the traps themselves can be dangerous to innocent people, while smart rats will avoid them. And the media, both the money making type and the social media spread falsehood and breed panic.
Everyone has to join together and get professional advice in seeking real solutions. Instead of focusing on who’s to blame, instead of sweeping things under the carpet, instead of panic, instead of distrust, let everyone come together for the sake of our children’s safety.

March 12, 2016 7:41 pm

You write many important factors in this entire tragic story. It is awful to be accused of a heinous crime one did not commit, or be misquoted in a national magazine. However, if public awareness saves one child from the horrors of abuse, it must be told. By the way, long before this article was published, there have been countless exposes that focus specifically on other Chassidic communities and paint them in a much worse light. We cannot get upset out an article only when it affects our community. Hopefully , more awareness and learning with remove this scourge from… Read more »

You are in denial
March 12, 2016 7:17 pm

because the article focuses on chabad to the exclusion of other hasidic sects that means the content is questionable? When will Chabad learn from the what happened to the Catholic Church? Stop denying!

Know ur sources
March 12, 2016 7:15 pm

“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind” was a statement made by Gandhi, not MLK. But otherwise good article.

Thank you!
March 12, 2016 7:10 pm

You verbalized my thoughts exactly! When it comes to Middle Eastern politics we are so quick to denounce the media as biased. Why can’t we take this article with the same grain of salt and understand there may be another motive (such as sensationalism) for this article?

March 12, 2016 6:50 pm

Sadly defensive. You also have to prove you caught the rats, all of them, that they’re gone for good, and that the traps stay set so no new ones can come back. You kinda left that out.

Are you kidding me?
March 12, 2016 4:09 pm

Reporting abuse to a child is in no way outside of the laws of Judiasm or halacha. Our greatest mitzvah is to save a life and the life of these children are lost at the time the abuse begins. We must continue to value our children before the Rabbinate. If a person is proven to be an abuser then “outing” them may save the “life” of another child, or help bring life back to others who may have been abused by the same individual. I realize that Chabad may have been over represented in the article, but with an attitude… Read more »

Thank you
March 12, 2016 8:55 am

Thanks for pointing out

D Herszberg
March 12, 2016 7:17 am

well said.

About the rat traps
March 12, 2016 6:13 am

Yes if you had rats you could buy a rat trap. But if u tried that and still had rats you’d be stupid to keep trying that one method and each time thinking it will be enough. If you were really concerned about the rats, and the traps didn’t work you’d take further measures. You might call a professional exterminator, find things that rats dont like and cause them to avoid your property, close up any holes or places rats could enter.. you get the drift. Thats exactly the problem that the “activists” are working to address. For years the… Read more »

Victim's Perspective
March 11, 2016 8:56 pm

Sruli, once one burns down a house (as Hashem’s story reminds us daily re a certain Beis HaMikdash that got burnt down), only then may we rebuild the house WITHOUT all the rat-holes that facilitate the discrete entry and exit of all the rats (and the diseases they carry). If Hashem can go homeless for 2000 + years, so can the Bnei Yisrael while a new house is rebuilt. Please acknowledge that rats are not the issue. The true threat posed by rats are the undetectable and sometimes untreatable diseases that rats are common carriers for. Chabad is, without a… Read more »