Sunday, August 30, 2015

Kol Kore on Abuse, no Rabbinic approval required to report, not all agree

A Kol Kore on abuse was signed by over 100 Rabbis, nevertheless the top tier Rabbonim in leadership positions did not sign. The Jewish Press in its editorial acknowledged that there is a significant body of opinion in the haredi world which maintains that rabbinic approval must be consulted prior to any approach to secular authorities.
JP editorial:

Published: August 26th, 2015
As we report this week on page 11, several yeshiva heads and scores of prominent Orthodox pulpit rabbis, teachers, and school officials, most of them self-identifying as haredi, have issued a proclamation, or kol koreh, on the duty of Jews to report child abuse to authorities.

The kol koreh declares that “every individual with firsthand knowledge or reasonable cause for suspicion of child abuse has a Torah obligation to promptly notify the proper civil authorities.”

Despite the haredi bona fides of most of the signatories, the community-wide concern for the protection of children, and the obvious logic underlying the proclamation, it will undoubtedly cause some controversy since there is a significant body of opinion in the haredi world which maintains that rabbinic approval must be consulted prior to any approach to secular authorities.

In practical terms, the proclamation surely makes a compelling argument: “Lives can be ruined or ended by unreported child abuse, as we are too often tragically reminded. The Torah’s statement in Leviticus 19:16, ‘Do not stand by while your neighbor’s blood is shed,’ obligates every member of the community to do all in one’s power to prevent harm to others.”

We hope that any debate over the proclamation will be formed in terms of those procedures best calculated to protect children from the predators in our midst.


  1. The reason many did not sign has nothing to do with whether authorities should be contacted or not.

    Many Gedolim felt the wording was not correct. "Reasonable basis to suspect" is a very vague term. Any disgruntled student or family can accuse anybody for anything. Once it goes to the authorities, the life of an innocent person can be ruined. And I am referring to the one who is accused. It is his word against the accusers. No evidence is needed. It is up to the jurors who to believe. Look what recent;y happened in Monsey!

    When the "asken" was asked to polish the lashon to conform with what the Gedolim wanted (something like "beyond reasonable doubt"), the asken refused. He also was caught misquoting Gedolim who backed the Kol Korei and its' lashon.

    Everyone agrees that authorities must be contacted. But only after there is no doubt the accuser is not making up a story.

    1. Is this the askan from Chicago?

    2. Let me preface I am not protecting the molesters,ok. now
      How many of those who signed are willing to take the achrayus of the innocent that are accused and lives ruined based on their very vague statement. Everyone agrees when there is no doubt to contact authorities but thats only when there is absolutely no doubt. The way the letter is written its easy to go after onyone you dont like.

    3. "Reasonable basis to suspect" is equivalent to Rav Elyashiv's "raglayim ladavar". Point is that anyone who wanted "beyond reasonable doubt" is going against Rav Elyashiv's psak.

  2. Why did Noted champion of victims of abuse Rabbi Yakov Horowitz not sign the letter?

  3. Fotheringay-PhippsAugust 31, 2015 at 1:04 PM

    One core but unspoken part of this issue is that there is no technical requirement to consult any rabbi about anything ever. The only reason to consult a rabbi is if you think he might know better than you - which will frequently be the case, especially about halachic matters.

    Fundamentally, the reason to consult rabbis in abuse cases is not really because the rabbi will have some halachic insight that you might be missing. It's really because the rabbi will be less biased than you, and more importantly will be less likely to have adopted some sort of "report them all and let the cops and legal system figure it out" attitude. (Personally I think having people report and and all suspicions is disastrous.) But these are complex considerations and broad policy matters, and you can see where some rabbis might be signing on to something that represents the technical letter of the law.

  4. I dont get it. If you were molested then its you who are saying that it happened. There is no shyla for such a case .so why if the person not allowrd to go to police. If your wife was raped,and she she knows who didit, does she need raglayim ledavar. Of course not. What this whole shtus about?

  5. Yaccov horowitz did not sign because he is afraid of the askanim mafia, scared of the aguda etc. Hes afraid of being shunned etc.

    1. And the other 100 Rabbis are not afraid?? Yakov H did not sign probably because he does not have any official leadership position hes a wandering scholar in residence.