Monday, May 22, 2006

Sometimes an old song transports me back to my youth. Songs that were very popular at a particular time but then (usually justifiably) dropped off the radar screen can be particularly powerful this way. For example, if I hear two bars of Tony Orlando singing "Tie a yellow ribbon 'round that old oak tree", I actually feel as if I'm on a particular spot on the Grand Central Parkway. Same for Paul Simon doing "Me and Julio down by the schoolyard".

A weird thing happened last week. I was listening to the BeeGees in my car (all you fineshmeckers can keep your jokes to yourselves...) and with each song I sank deeper into my youth. Man, did they have a string of dated songs or what. How Deep is Your Love, More than a Woman. It kept on coming.

Here's where it gets weird. I seem to have gotten stuck back there. All of a sudden everybody is talking about the fact that Yudi K. and Mordechai W. are sexual predators. Hello! Hello! Scotty, can you beam me back to the 21st century! It can't be that these depraved maniacs, whom everybody my age knew about in our youth, are actually still out there, can it?

If I listen to Gary Pucket and the Union Gap or Jay Black and the Americans, what will happen? Will Man will land on the moon and the Amazin' Mets win the World Series? Or maybe the New York media will finally run a story about Eli T., whose victims would've been better off if he'd just stuck to breaking and entering.


Blogger Gil Student said...

That's what happens when nobody takes responsibility and does something about such problems.

11:31 PM  
Anonymous zalman said...

This is a difficult problem. One reason it is so difficult is the overwhelming desire to minimize the damage to the system.

Gil is intelligent, deliberate, well meaning and sympathetic. Yet he writes “Many charges are false but some are true … When a great Torah scholar is quoted on a blog or in a secular magazine as saying something that seems outrageous, assume that he is being misquoted. I believe you are halakhically obligated to do so.”

As I commented on his blog, I doubt that he has any basis for implying that these kinds of charges are most likely false.
Given the stakes and our experience, it is more likely that we are halakhically obligated to make no assumption that our children’s welfare is being adequately addressed by the great Torah scholars.

It is obvious that being machmir on “dan l’kaf z’chut” brings with it being meikil on “dinei n’fashot”. And Gil is a good guy. So what is going on here?
Our community has this overwhelming desire to present illusory seeds of doubt so that we can continue to believe in the system … which ultimately leads to the community (and its members) doing nothing.

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It is obvious that being machmir on “dan l’kaf z’chut” brings with it being meikil on “dinei n’fashot”. And Gil is a good guy. So what is going on here?"

don't see why it has to. One can protect oneself and insitute safeguards and conduct investigations without prejudging anything.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the comment attributed to RCPS is not as impossible as one would like to believe.
Here is how it could have happened:
RCPS, a man in his 60s or 70s, is apporoached in the 1980s, about an issue of sexual molestation in a yeshiva. We are still in a period when there was a strong sense among Orthodoxy that our religion protects us from all the ills of the outside world. And this is a man who comes from an era where these things were not spoken about. When faced with the story, he reverts to his halakhic default: no penetration, no issur. He is shocked, and unbelieving, and so responds in the only way he can: strict halakha.

I am not saying RCPS made the comment, I am just demonstrating that he COULD have, as any rabbi.

11:23 AM  

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