Meet the rabbi who’s on a mission to educate the Orthodox community about sexual abuse—and publicly out pedophiles while he’s at it.
For the past 15 years, Rabbi Yakov Horowitz has been trying to break the cycle of silence associated with abuse in the Orthodox community. According to the Torah, Jews are forbidden to turn criminals over to non-Jewish authorities, and are expected to face shunning and bullying from their community if they do.
As such, sexual abuse often goes unreported.
“You have people who are [very close.] Reporting on somebody who you’re friendly with, or who is someone’s uncle is more challenging than reporting on somebody you don’t know,” Horowitz told Vocativ. “…I’ve been telling parents to go to police.”
The rabbi has turned his personal Twitter and Facebook accounts into a one man campaign against sexual abuse.
“Warning to Boro Park parents about released sex offender Dascalowitz.” Horowitz tweeted last month, linking to a Facebook post he had written that includes the current address of sex offender Meir Dascalowitz, who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy in 2013.
He also writes up advice to parents on best practices for teaching their children about abuse, including “teach your kids no one is EVER permitted 2 tell them 2 keep secret from you” and “list exceptions to good touch/bad touch carefully.”
Predators, Horowitz explains, seek out children who don’t speak to their parents regularly.
One offender attempted to strike back.
Horowitz began tweeting out warnings after Yona Weinberg, a convicted child molester, was released from jail and moved to Israel.
“Treat him as a terrorist with a machete,” the rabbi wrote.
Weinberg filed a restraining order against Horowitz, which was later denied by the court.
According to Horowitz, the filing was just a means of intimidation.
“How can you slander a sex offender?” he asked. “If somebody is out there (molesting) children, how do you ruin his reputation?”