The Sceptic Blog

Random thoughts of a random chappy

Chaim Halpern

with 2 comments

  1. One way or another, a crashing injustice has been done and the London Jewish orthodox community should feel utterly ashamed of itself.
  2. If Chaim Halpern did not abuse his position as a counsellor, then the community has allowed an innocent man to be hounded from positions of respect as a result of malicious gossip.
  3. If he did abuse his position as a counsellor, then the community has sent a loud message to his victims that the closest they can expect to get to anything like justice is a messy cover-up.
  4. If I were a girl or woman in the community today who was experiencing abuse from a communal leader, I would look at what has happened here and despair.  I would not contact the police, because I would be afraid to; and I would not contact the rabbis, because the most I could expect would be a kangaroo court in one of their houses resulting in some kind of messy compromise.
  5. Mi k’amcho Yisroel – Who is like your people Israel?  How often do we hear our leaders trumpet this phrase as they congratulate the community on its warmth and our kindness to each other.
  6. That is absolutely worthless if there are victims in our community who are being allowed to cry themselves to sleep at night because nobody cares enough to stand up for them.
  7. If Chaim Halpern abused women – whether or not he committed assault or any other crime – he should be publicly stripped of the title Rabbi and he should be placed in cheirem – excommunication – by every single rabbi in the area.
  8. If Chaim Halpern did not abuse women – then every single Rabbi in the area should sign a paper stating that if anyone has evidence that he did they are not just permitted, but obliged, to take it to the police, and that unless and until a charge is brought the Rabbi is publicly upheld as a righteous and innocent person.
  9. That neither of these things have happened, but a messy “deal” has been done behind closed doors, is such a disgrace that we cannot take ourselves seriously as a religious community until it is put right.
  10. The Rabbis need to make one thing absolutely clear.  If a person is abused by anyone in the community, whether or not they are sure that a crime has been committed, they are under a halachic duty to go to the police, and the Rabbis will give every encouragement and support to people who come forward in these circumstances.  No closed-sessions of rabbis in each others’ houses; no appointments of local lawyers to take down evidence and have it looked at by ad hoc Batei Din.  Just a simple commitment to use the competent authorities of the State for those matters in which they are competent and the Beis Din is not (using the word competent in its legal sense).
  11. This must not be allowed to blow over.  Each one of us who belongs to the orthodox Jewish community in London will be confronted on the day of judgment and asked: Why did you, the Jewish public, allow this to go on in your name?
  12. Irrespective of who is the victim.

Written by Daniel Greenberg

November 30, 2012 at 9:18 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. It seems Dayan Lichtenstein has been the only person with the courage to go on record, and he knows a thing or two about libel:


    November 30, 2012 at 12:40 pm

  2. What Ho!

    Congrats my man. As expected, the most succinct and apposite summation of this case. Shame on all of us. The secular legal authorities should be the ones to judge this case, to avoid politicising and ‘under-carpet’ shoving.

    A M Ho'oretz

    December 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: