We have to speak out against pedophelia and abuse and against intimidation of victims and families of victims. At the same time, when we address an entire community, and we do so best, with most effect, when we do so with respect and humility.
While there is a lot to critique in the Orthodox world – Modern, Centrist and Chareidi – all of us sometimes take a strident attitude that may not exhibit sufficient respect and love for our fellow Jews and their motivations. All of us can make an effort to try to make our first response be one of embracing all of Orthodoxy – all Jews of course, and all human beings – and being open to learning – sometimes with a critical, but respectful ear – from our fellow Orthodox Jews
There is no need to apologize for the Hareidi or Centrist or even Modern Orthodox community. We just need to speak from a loving and caring place. I am a pluralist: We need to learn from all Jews, and connect and relate to all Jews – Reform, Conservative, Renewal ; I believe it is critical for Judaism that we engage with the greater society as well. That openness, however, requires that we understand that our spiritual and religious home remains with those who embrace Torah Judaism based on our age old tradition (masoret) and based on a loyalty to Hashem’s divine and eternal commandments. Sometimes the Chareidi world may seem foreign to Modern Orthodox – myself included – but with the right effort and the right attitude, Modern Orthodox Jews, who live in the contemporary world, embedded in contemporary society, can still recognize their spiritual brothers and sisters – Orthodox Jews – and still remember where their home is.
Yes, there are serious challenges in the Hareidi community regarding dealing with the issue of pedophelia and abuse, and stifling those who are crying out for help. And yes, I believe in transparency and speaking out – not being afraid. We should be angry at terrible things happening. But Modern Orthodox Jews can have the greatest impact on the Hareidi world, our Orthodox brothers and sisters in Lakewood, Brooklyn and Monsey, when they hear our critiques with love, concern and humility in our voice.
Morethodoxy – this great blog – believes in the same passionate Yiddishkeit that Hasidishe and Yeshivishe Yiddishkeit have espoused for centuries: let’s make sure that all Orthodox Jews know that we are one with them, and together, we can address even the most heinous crimes and failings in our communities.
Rabbi Asher Lopatin