Two of the three rabbis at Beliefnet’s Virtual Talmud have issued backhanded denouncements of the Jewish bloggers who have brought attention to sexual misconduct in the rabbinic community, while calling for the same “protocols and procedures for dealing expeditiously and confidentially with charges of sexual misconduct” said bloggers have been demanding for years — apart from that bit about confidentially, cuz, ya know, our rabbinic leadership has such a great track record of handling these cases behind closed doors.
Conservative rabbi Susan Grossman of Beth Shalom Congregation in Columbia, Maryland, writes:
While I don’t agree with the use of the Internet to publicize unproven charges of sexual misconduct, I certainly understand why such postings happen: All too often victims find no support or redress in the organized Jewish world.
Perhaps [protocols and procedures], once in place, would vitiate the need for blogs that ultimately do more for the spread of lashon hara than the effective protection of potential victims of sexual misconduct.
How’s this for lashon hara: F*ck you!
The rabbinic establishment is not interested in protecting potential victims, they’re interested in protecting offenders! To quote one of Gafni’s victims, as she wrote in a comment on Jewschool, “Maybe had you all listened [before, instead of giving Gafni a hechsher without ever consulting his victims] we may not be where we are today.” But our rabbinic leadership has proven itself incapable of justly handling such allegations, putting the accused’s parnassah before the pursuit of justice. They have consistently failed to conduct proper investigations, thus turning the claim of “unproven charges” into an escape hatch for the criminally ill.
Like Lanner before him, Kolko got shifted around for 30 years amidst countless allegations before he was brought to justice. Does anyone actually believe such procedures will do anything beyond adding an extra layer of bureaucracy to the process and, in turn, an extra layer of cover for the offender? To hell with that! I’d rather run to the press and run to the cops than leave matters in their hands.
Why is transparency such an anathema to these people? The same smug self-interest, perhaps?
After recounting an experience in which his attempts at transparency were stifled while writing on the Lanner case for the Commie, Orthodox rabbi Eliyahu Stern, scholar-in-residence at Park East Synagogue, continues the blogger smear writing:
It was only after the Lanner affair that those such as Steven I. Weiss started blogging on the politics and day to-day happenings of Orthodox Jewish life. Recently, others in Brooklyn and other Orthodox enclaves have followed his lead, creating a new power dynamic within the community.
To be sure, blogs are not a panacea, and sometimes, like all good societal medicines, they can have dangerous side-effects. Lies, rumors, and fiction are rampant on blogs, and real people’s lives can be destroyed because of the lack of standards endemic to the medium.
Yeah, okay. How ’bout providing a single example in which a Jewish blogger’s “lies” ruined the life of an innocent member of the Jewish community? Hell, show me a single libel suit! Indeed, if Stern’s post is anything, it is evidence that fiction does, in fact, run rampant on blogs: His in particular.
What leads me to read his otherwise supportive post so negatively? The overwhelming question: If you claim to believe in the value of blogs and the transparency they bring, why are you feeding a false assertion about blogs being filled with lies?
The elephant in the room is, of course, Jewish Whistleblower. We all know who these two are actually talking about. The question is why paint the entire blogosphere with a lashon harah brush for the misdeeds of one universally-condemned, overzealous, anonymous blog commentor?
Stern concludes with an attempted saving grace, stating:
While bloggers like Weiss make a mistake or two here and there and are often too quick to condemn or praise, they are essential for creating a culture of critique.
I mean, other than the fact that demanding accountability from those who cover for sex offenders has nothing to do with critique and everything to do with trying to protect innocent people, at least he realizes he can’t totally devalue the blogosphere, otherwise he might be out of a paying gig.
“I thought to myself, after Moses there came the Judges; and after the Judges there came the Prophets; and afterwards the Men of the Great Assembly; and after them the Tanayim, the Amorayim, and the Poskim. And afterwards were those who reproved for the sake of heaven; and then that degenerated and there were many reprovers for the sake of heaven. And then that degenerated for there were many reprovers who were not genuine. And afterwards came the Rebbes. And therefore I’m groaning for I see that that too will degenerate — and what will the Jewish people do?” — The Yid Hakodesh of Przysucha
Still waiting for the Recon rabbi, Joshua Waxman, to chime in. Hopefully one of these yutzes won’t earn my utter contempt.
Gee whiz. I guess I’ll never get into ever-pretentious Blog Heaven now. Yawn.