I bet when wis started to investigate this matter that we were just dealing with a million or two, i bet you were shocked to find over 9 million dollars that belongs to the crown heights community being stolen.
now, 9 million dollars buys you some people, you got to find out why those who support the mossrim do so. is it that they are thrown a hundred bucks and therefore are ready to see fellow Jews go to jail?
Thank G-d that Orthodox crooks, including some prestigious rabbis, are being dragged out into the sunlight more and more often recently. Sunlight is G-d’s best disinfectant for our planet, and we seem to be desperately in need of a major “ethical cleansing” at this time.
Over thirty years ago, when a substantial wave of us idealists enthusiastically became baalei teshuva, we never would have imagined that way too many outwardly pious co-religionists were secretly steeped in corruption, and that they would even feel self-righteous about the corruption too. It saddened us to find out that too many believed that being Torah-observant actually entitled them to live corruptly. That made so little sense to us that for years we couldn’t even accept that this could be a popular mindset. I guess to all of those who had been following a secretly corrupt way of living for decades, we must have seemed like fools, for taking the Torah seriously and wanting to genuinely follow its guidelines — even behind closed doors.
Many are sad to see new Orthodox crooks being discovered every week. It is so much better, though, than them not being discovered and continuing “successfully” in their ways. When they continue to elude detection, they also lure more and more innocent people into their accepted ways, which is what was happening. They also get more and more entrenched in their crimes as well.
Nobody likes to deal with infestations of any kind, but it’s so much better to start dealing with them, then to try to keep the light off, and pretend we’re not heavily infested. I still believe that the vast majority of Orthodox people are the wonderful, caring, and spiritual kind of people with whom we eagerly wanted to join to make our world a better place. And even plenty of the crooked ones do lots of publicly kind actions too, but that still doesn’t mean that the disgusting crimes they do can be disregarded.
We also have to accept that it’s not like there are just a few rotten apples. We’ve looked the other way for too long, so the rottenness has spread. It seems that most of our leaders have been afraid to rock the rotting pushcart too. And we have become far too fearful of our leaders.
While the most basic Torah principles have been ignored and trampled upon, guidance on much less intrinsic issues has been vociferously offered. The safety of our children is still not viewed as a priority, victims of abuse are still brutally intimidated for speaking up and still forced to leave their homes and professions by those with hierarchical religious clout, while perpetrators are still lauded with prestigious and powerful support. So, despite a temporary tarnish to our image, each tumor that gets revealed in our midst is actually, in truth, cause for celebration. It’s not as if it did not exist – it did- but in being brought out into the sunlight, we all get a chance to heal.
Each thief and each abuser in our midst who gets caught helps us face, that much more clearly, that we have clearly gone “off the derech.” It looks like only when we face how far off we’ve gone can we re-direct our efforts and get back on a pure course.
Bracha Goetz is the Harvard-educated author of fourteen children’s books, including Remarkable Park, Let Your Fingers Do the Mitzvos and The Invisible Book. She also serves on the Executive Board of the national organization, Jewish Board of Advocates for Children, and coordinates a Jewish Big Brother and Big Sister program in Baltimore, Maryland. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.