Ultra-Orthodox Jews harass sexually abused girl

It’s hard for individuals unfamiliar with Orthodox Jewish culture to fully understand the scope of isolation in that community. For starters, a large number of Orthodox denominations were a direct response to the assimilation of Jews in society near the end of the 19th century. Believing integration with society was leading to impiety, Orthodox Jews adopted a rather extreme position when it comes to the outside world. Everything is forbidden, and the whole community basically operates outside of the laws you and I typically follow.

Every once in a while, a scandal erupts even the community cannot hide. After a young woman came forward to authorities with her abuse story, a number of Ultra-Orthodox men were arrested when it was discovered they had tried to make the charges against Rabbi Nechemya Weberman disappear by offering the victim 500,000 dollars for her to leave the country. When the couple refused, the 4 thugs damaged his restaurant, tearing up his kosher seal.  The move has angered his fellow Jews:

Orthodox Jews are supposed to adhere strictly to the laws and ethics of the Torah (Bible) – and clearly the Torah abhors behavior like this. These people’s acts are neither religious nor Orthodox – and it infuriates me to hear them referred to by the media as “religious”, or Weberman referred to as a “Rabbi.” Rabbi is a title of respect, even reverence, and surely someone who allegedly fondled a young girl and forced a 12-year-old to perform indecent acts is not worthy of this label.

This is simply another variation of the ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy. Any religious leader caught abusing their power must not be a true believer! The problem with that analogy, of course, is it essentially ignores the fact the very power and reverence they receive is part of the problem: with this level of control over their congregation, combined with the ultra-secretive nature of the religion, abuse is almost a guarantee. Just ask the Catholic Church what that combination leads to.

So ineffectual is government to create some kind of oversight for these loonies, that just the other day, the New York City Board of Health put together a regulation which would ‘force’ parents who still allow mohels to suck their infant’s circumcised penis to sign a consent form beforehand (essentially doing nothing to stop the dangerous practice that has already claimed lives). That toothless piece of legislation will undoubtedly do nothing to change their outmoded and dangerous practices. You won’t see the government bending over backwards for any other group, but the raw political power of Orthodox Jews in New York is considerable, and there exists no political will to change things. So long as isolated religious communities thrive, so too will stories of their concealed abuses.

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