Cries From Within

Editorial


Published April 10, 2013, issue of April 12, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Horace Mann. Poly Prep. Deerfield Academy. The scourge of sexual abuse has not bypassed some of the nation’s most exclusive names in education, as each of these schools now must confront charges of inappropriate, perhaps illegal, certainly immoral behavior by some of their teachers. Each case is different, of course, but the stories contain a striking similarity: a treasured institution unwilling to listen to its students and alumni until it was forced to publicly.

Some believe the same is true for Yeshiva University. Ever since December, when the Forward first published stories of allegations that two rabbis at Y.U.’s High School for Boys in Manhattan sexually, physically and emotionally abused students, the university has faced calls for greater transparency and accountability from within its own community.

First Shmuel Herzfeld, a Y.U. graduate who serves as rabbi of The National Synagogue in Washington D.C., pleaded with his alma mater to institute a “truly independent” investigation of the abuse charges and the university’s role in — by its own admission — allowing the alleged abusers to leave quietly for other positions in Jewish education.

Though Y.U.’s Board of Trustees appointed the respected Manhattan law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell to conduct an investigation and promised “unfettered access” to all documents and personnel, the school has not been clear about whether the full report will be made public. “We expect the findings of the investigation will be communicated to the public following completion of the investigation,” was the last statement, issued January 16.

Click to see the rest of the section, Click for more stories about abuse at Y.U.

That’s not been enough for another set of alumni, led by Stacey Klein, a psychotherapist in New York, who is organizing an online petition urging “YU leadership to commit to a full and transparent investigation which will allow the process of healing, reparation and reconciliation to begin.” So far, 260 people have signed.

Writing recently in the New York Jewish Week, David Cheifetz, a New Jersey resident, revealed his own youthful experience of abuse at a religious summer camp and encouraged “everyone to withhold financial support from every institution suspected of ignoring or covering up sexual abuse activities in their midst.” Klein, writing in the Forward, went further and called for the resignation of Norman Lamm, who was formerly Y.U. president and is now its chancellor.

These are not outsiders blithely castigating someone else’s school. These are the painful cries of insiders pleading for more from an institution they once held dear.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.