Child Abuses Allegations Hit The Orthodox Jewish Community

We have previously followed complaints from families in the Jewish Orthodox community that pedophiles continue to receive protection from disclosure or prosecution — even as the Catholic Church is forced to deal with its own scandal. This has come to another flashpoint with the hunt for Brooklyn Rabbi Gershon Kranczer and his 21-year-old son Asher for the sexual abuse of four family relatives.

Two other sons of the Rabbi — Yechezkel, 24, and a 15-year-old who cannot be named — also turned themselves in to police.

Kranczer, 58, has 14 children. There have long been allegations of coverups of abuse in the Orthodox community. Last year, 25 Orthodox men were arrested on sex abuse charges. This year, 29 sex crime investigations were opened in the predominantly Orthodox community of Lakewood, New Jersey. Some families have accused rabbis of discouraging families from reporting such abuses to the police. They say that Rabbis have invoked such principles as mesirah (not informing on a fellow Jew to the secular authorities) and lashon hara (spreading gossip) to keep people quiet.

As the article below discusses, the death of Yehoshua Finkelstein, 20, by suicide put a spotlight on these problems. Finkelstein left a suicide note criticizing the Jewish community for not facing up to the problem of sexual abuse. The response? The grieving family’s house was destroyed in a suspected arson attack. This was not a unique act of retaliation. When another boy gave a statement alleging abuses by Yosef Kolko in Lakewood with the support of his father (who is also a Rabbi), locals distributed a flyer accusing the father of making “a mockery of the Torah” and of committing a chilul hashem.

Source: Religion Dispatches

Jonathan Turley

13 thoughts on “Child Abuses Allegations Hit The Orthodox Jewish Community”

  1. I don’t think the authoritarian religion causes this sexual aberration, but the crimes that come from their authority to their fellow man leaves them in a condition that you see with addicts, when they can’t stop themselves they commit crimes so others will keep them from continuing their abuses. This phenomenon speaks to the basic goodness of man in spite of their outlandish beliefs and actions.

    This is overly simplistic. Part of the aberration comes from the fact that you pull in those things that you resist most and other craziness around relationships and sex in strict religious groups. Of course there is also the need to overpower others… I doubt you find the these symptoms in Buddhism and other practices of involved in the simplicity of thought, kindness to others and acceptance.

  2. No matter what creed, colour or religious belief, those with the most money never cease to amaze with the level of their depravity

  3. Whenever you have fundamentalism in any belief, beware of what lurks beneath the surface.

  4. Buddha


    “How can either of these two religions justify this position?”

    I have three words that may answer your question.

    Capital risk management.


    And that’s an accurate wrap…

  5. ID,

    “How can either of these two religions justify this position?”

    I have three words that may answer your question.

    Capital risk management.

  6. From the article:

    “Catholic and Orthodox officials even joined forces last year to block a bill in the New York State legislature that would have temporarily lifted the statute of limitations on abuse claims.”

    Unbelievable. What horrible PR. How can either of these two religions justify this position?

  7. “Hmmmm… “growing authoritarianism”… has a familiar ring to it…”

    Ain’t that the truth!

  8. Child abuse and pedophilia are to be found in all quarters, as we know… I’ve seen way too much of it in my work, especially the fallout, i.e., the toll that it takes on its victims…

    From the linked article:

    “There is a growing authoritarianism in the Orthodox community today,” says Rabbi Dratch. “There is a hierarchy and a deference to rabbinic opinion and these two forces play off each other.”

    Hmmmm… “growing authoritarianism”… has a familiar ring to it…

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