Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Chaim Walder, ultra-Orthodox children’s book author who was accused of sexual abuse, found dead

(JTA) — Chaim Walder, an Israeli haredi Orthodox children’s book author who was accused last month of sexual abuse by several teenage girls, was found dead Monday in an apparent suicide, according to Israeli news reports. Walder was 53 years old.

After a successful career as a columnist, radio host, teacher, public speaker and most notably, author of the successful children’s book series, “Kids Speak,” Walder’s career came crashing down in recent weeks after he was accused of sexual abuse by several young women. The story of the alleged abuse was revealed in an investigation by Haaretz published last month.

In addition to his writing, Walder also worked as a therapist and was honored in 2003 with the Israeli prime minister’s “protector of the child” award. According to the investigation by Haaretz, several women accused Walder of initiating sexual relationships with them when they approached him for counseling.

The accounts of alleged abuse led to an unusually strong reaction within the haredi Orthodox community, which has often preferred to sweep accusations of bad behavior under the rug rather than publicly oust abusers.

Just a few days after the Haaretz investigation was published, Eichler’s, a large Judaica and Jewish book store in Brooklyn’s Borough Park neighborhood, announced it would no longer sell Walder’s books. Walder’s longtime publisher, Feldheim Publishers of Nanuet, New York, tweeted that it would remove Walder’s book from shelves while the allegations against the author are being investigated. Yated Neeman and Radio Kol Hai, two Israeli news organizations, suspended Walder from his positions at the companies in the wake of the allegations, according to Israeli news site Arutz Sheva.

On Sunday, a rabbinical court in Safed heard testimony from 22 young women about alleged abuse at Walder’s hands, according to Haaretz, with the abuse going back as far as 25 years ago and occurring as recently as six months ago.

Even as some parts of the haredi Orthodox world moved to excise Walder and his books from their lives, some still ignored the allegations against him. In reporting Walder’s death Monday, B’chadrei Haredim, an Israeli Orthodox news site, made no mention of the allegations against Walder. The article concluded with the words, “May his memory be a blessing.”


The post Chaim Walder, haredi Orthodox children’s book author who was accused of sexual abuse, found dead appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Engage

  • Events

    Haart to Haart

    Virtual

    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.