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It’s Time for the ultra-Orthodox Community to Tackle Sex Abuse Head-on

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By David Fachler

Last week in a bold and unprecedented move, Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau penned an open letter to Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) educators cautioning them to “deal seriously” with instances of child abuse that have been reported at educational institutions and in some homes. “Burying our heads in the sand is not the answer to these difficult and painful issues,” Lau wrote, urging members of the community to take responsibility for the atrocities.
Lau’s letter came in the wake of a report that as many as six teachers from a Hasidic school in Tel Aviv have been charged with abusing almost two dozen preschool and elementary school students. This is by no means an isolated incident: In the last few months at least three Israeli Torah scholars have been accused of sexually abusing women and girls, and in two of these cases the victims involved close members of the perpetrators’ families.
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