Clarifying Jewish Orthodoxy by Disowning Murderers and Paedophiles
1. The vicious and depraved lunatic Yishai Schlissel who murdered a marcher on the Gay Pride event in Jerusalem is described in the press – not unreasonably given his appearances and pretensions – as “an ultra-Orthodox Jew”.
2. The chillingly sane child-abuser Todros Grynhaus is similarly described for similar reasons.
3. Grynhaus’ Counsel told the judge in court that “Part of the punishment for this man is of course the shame and exposure and social ostracisation within his own community”.
4. So far, that is, of course, unhappily not true. The only people who have been shamed, exposed and ostracised are the victims.
5. Orthodox Judaism needs to act fast and decisively. Unless we all act together both to proclaim that violence and abuse are incompatible with orthodox Jewish observance and show by the community’s actions that knowledge, zeal and money will not be reasons to acknowledge murderers and paedophiles as part of our community, then we will be rightly tainted as a community in the eyes of the world.
6. Community is about membership with rules. If the rules of the Jewish orthodox community are not effective to protect the vulnerable and to enforce basic standards of human decency, it will no longer be morally tolerable to be seen to identify with it.