Orthonomics. (If you have no idea what I'm referring to, update yourself here.)
However, I do want to highlight one aspect of this episode that I haven't yet heard anyone touch on so far. Regardless of how one feels about Grossman, the death penalty, or his supposed teshuva, this week's activities have laid bare another lie that the chareidi world frequently promotes in its defense.
How often have we heard, in response to calls for action on the issue of sexual abuse, whether from the community, its leaders, or its institutions, the tired old excuses - "What can we do about it? It's not in our hands!", "It doesn't matter what I say. It won't have any effect anyway.", "This isn't something that we get involved in.", "What can I really do anyway? I'm just an average Joe!", "We don't address issues that our outside of our organizations concerns." There's always some excuse given, explaining how the person's inaction, or the organizations avoidance of the issue, is simply the more pragmatic and practical response.
If there's anything this weeks events have demonstrated, it's that the frum world - from its highest organizations, to the average layman, to its various media outlets - can and will act when they care about an issue. It doesn't matter how unlikely their efforts are to succeed; it doesn't matter how questionable the object of their efforts really is; it doesn't matter how distant the person - or even the cause! - is to their community. They will speak up; they will take action; they will rally; they will pray; they will do everything they can, from sending out petitions, to making phone calls, to applying political pressure, to writing editorials; even speaking about the issue in children's schools, and appealing to Heads of State to intervene!
What all this shows is just how hollow all their excuses are when they avoid taking action on other issues, issues far more pressing and dire than the fate of an admitted cop-killer.
What does it say about an institution like Agudah, which repeatedly sidesteps taking action against child molesters, yet willingly stands up to help out a cold-blooded killer?
What does it say about a community that is willing to go to bat for a convicted murderer who, until just two weeks prior, most people had never even heard of, but isn't willing to even speak up for innocent victims in their own community?
What does it say about people who speak with reverence and love about someone who bashed in a womans head with a flashlight, simply because "he's a Jew", yet when it comes to helping out a Jew who was raped by someone in their community, they will treat him like a pariah?
What does it say about rabbis who spoke to their congregations, encouraging them to call the Governor, to say tehillim, and to spread the word about this righteous cause, yet these same Rabbis are virtually silent when it comes to taking action against the pedophiles residing in their communities?
What does it say about a community that is up in arms in a matter of days about someone and something so distant to their own lives, yet even after years of poking and prodding by activists about an issue that affects the very safety of their own children, they choose to avoid any concrete action?
It seems that the chareidi community is patting themselves on the back now, so proud of the "…shtadlonus and achdus that was demonstrated by our tzibbur over recent days," as Chaim Dovid Zweibel, in a statement as a representative of Agudah, said. "Your reaction to the impending tragedy was remarkable."
Yes, it truly is remarkable. How can you not be utterly ashamed of yourselves?
Photo credit: flickr user Angelica Nicole.
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