Monday, June 04, 2012

Zweibel (paraphrased): Better a thousand molesters go free then one minute of Torah be wasted

Today's abomination (Via RNS)
I do believe that among them there are people who are deeply pained about certain issues and feel that [blogging about it] is the way they can express their pain. I will even go a step further and say that through the pressure they’ve created, communal issues that needed to be confronted were moved to the front burner and taken seriously. A case in point is abuse and molestation issues. The question is, if the fact that they've created some degree of change is worth the cost. At the very least, it’s rechilus, lashon hara, and bittul zman. That’s a high price to pay. - Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Executive Vice-President of Agudath Israel of America.
In the interest of not throwing up all over my shoes, I'll keep this short and sweet: 

Accusation #1: Chaim Dovid Zweibel does not understand child abuse. No one with any real understanding of this issue would suggest that letting a molester run free might be preferable to bittul zman,  missing a moment of Torah learning. A basic Jewish rule is that every other consideration goes out the window when a life is at risk. With this quote, Zweibel reveals that he does not think child molestation puts lives at risk.  

Accusation #2: Chaim Dovid Zweibel values the reputation of Rabbis more than he values the well-being of children.  A falsely accused Rabbi can bounce back faster and more easily than an abused child. This is why we must err on the side of protecting children, and not on the side of protecting Rabbis. Zweibel wants it the other way around. Elsewhere in the Mishpacha article CDZ reveals an unhealthy infatuation with kovod (He says outright that he joined Agudah, in part, for the glory) and throughout the article he makes it clear that he is a slave to the (false) idea that Judaism will cease to exist unless we offer the Rabbis (of his choosing) complete fealty. Both are attitudes we'd expect from a man who is willing to risk children for the sake of rabbinic reputations.

Accusation #3: Chaim Dovid Zweibel is unacquainted with Avi Shafran's oeuvre. Short of accusing Zweibel of blatant hypocrisy, there is no other way to reconcile Zweibel's fretting about rechilus and lashan hara with the work of his chief spokesman. Safran's greatest hits include: The Conservative Lie, a two fisted attack on Conservative Judaism; countless articles which disparage Eric Yoffie, the head of Reform Judaism; several letters in the New York Times which publicly denounce the mission and motives of  Magen Tzedek (originally known as Hechsher Tzedek); as well as; dozens of pieces that attack scientists, homosexuals, modern Orthodox Jews and, indeed, anyone else who fails to toe the very narrow Agudah line. Though not penned by Avi Shafran, Agudah is also famous for publishing a hatchet job on Rabbi Joseph B. Solivetchik disguised as an obituary.  "At the very least," aren't those attacks in writing examples of  "rechilus, lashon hara, and bittul zman?" Did Zweibel conduct a cost benefit analysis before authorizing those articles? Obviously not. So if its okay for Agudah why isn't it okay for bloggers? (The answer, of course, is that when conducted in the service of Agudah objectives rechiluslashon hara, and bittul zman is not really rechilus, lashon hara, and bittul zman whereas anything that opposes Agudah  objectives are by definition rechilus, lashon hara, and bittul zman. But I wonder if CDZ is honest or self-aware enough to see that.)

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