Friday, November 18, 2005

What do we do with Rabbis who are Alleged and or Convicted Sex Offenders and their Smicha's (Ordination)?

The following is a repeat from March 5, 2005. Considering everything in the news today, I thought it was appropriate to republish it.

I was recently having a conversation with someone regarding the topic of having a rabbi's ordination overturned/revolked.

I was told the only way that can happen in orthodox circles (RCA or Agudath Israel of America) is if the rabbi who gave the ordination takes it back.

There's a problem though; If the rabbi who gave an offender his smicha dies, then there is nothing anyone can do. I think about how rabbis can decide all sorts of things, but I don't understand why they haven't had a summit to change this practice? Do they care more about thier image, then they do about protecting innocent potential victims?

I either read somewhere or was told that Marc Gafni almost had has his ordination revoked. But right before that happened he gave it back to Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. Gafni still has ordinations by other rabbis. My question is that with all the information that's available, why hasn't those other rabbis also revoked his ordination?

I've also been told it's highly unusual for a rabbi to revoke an ordination. I'm really confused with the Gafni case, why hasn't every Jewish news paper didn't pick it up? Wouldn't you think it would be headline news?

I also think about all the smicha's Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach has given. Off the top of my head I automatically think of Rabbi Hershy Worch, who was living in Chicago, and now resides in Istanbul, Turkey.

I heard that because Hershy Worch doesn't belong to any rabbinical organization, meaning there is nothing any can do.

So the Worch saga continues. He is still considered an orthodox rabbi. So the odds are he is continuing his Kiruv work (Jewish outreach), and practicing S & M form of Kabbalah. Luring more victims in.

If an orthodox rabbi is an alleged or convicted sex offender, they will remain being a rabbi. Think about it. If you can't revoke a smicha, and all you can do is kick someone out of a rabbinical association, then does it really make a difference what can you do? The alleged or convicted offender can continue using their title of rabbi to lure in innocent victims and continue offending.

Maybe everyone needs to contact the rabbinical associations (RCA or Agudath Israel of America) and see if public pressure will get them to change?

Click on the photos below to learn more about the following minyon of "Rabbis".


Anonymous Anonymous said...

why do you have only orthodox rabbis listed here?

November 20, 2005 10:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's because this letter is addressing how the orthodox community wants to ignore the issues at hand.

I'll be honest with you, I personally hold the Torah Observant rabbinical organizations at a higher standard then the other rabbinical groups. You would think they would want to be the leaders in revoking the ordinations of rabbis who are sexual predators instead of promoting them and making them principals of boys yeshivas or helping them to move on to another community.

The more I read the more outrage I feel. What will it take for the RCA, OU, Agudath Israel of America to make the necessary changes? When will they be more concerned about the safety of our children then if they are davening correctly, or if a chicken is kosher or not.

November 21, 2005 9:26 AM  
Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Rabbi Lipman (top left corner picture in lower grouping) is not an Orthodox rabbi nor does he have Orthodox smicha.

Ozair as I discussed with Luke Ford in the past does not have smicha, it's a forgery.

Carlebach had his smicha revoked.

One of Gafni's smicha's was either revoked or returned (or both).

>I think about how rabbis can
>decide all sorts of things, but
>I don't understand why they
>haven't had a summit to change
>this practice? Do they care more
>about thier image, then they do
>about protecting innocent
>potential victims?

Real smicha could not be revoked. Today's smicha is not real smicha (unless you accept the new sanhedrin in Israel and the smicha it gives). As such it is no more than a mere permission from a Rav to a student to give psak, as such it can be revoked at will by the Rav (of course the Rav would have to be alive). So what does smicha or the title Rabbi really mean today? Frankly not much.

The problem is there is not really a rabbinical body with teeth to deal with the "bad apples". Too often they quietly move from one organization/community/institutionto the next.

What the Rabbinical community has to do is get together and establish this registry discussed by the RCA to keep the "bad apples" out of positions of leadership and provide assistance and resources to victims of clergy abuse.

These are the 2 areas they are failing in.

Revoking smicha is an available tool that should be used whn it can. But it is only one such tool.

There is no reason the other branches of Judaism couldn' state (as in Rabbi David Kaye's case) that the smicha they give has two aspects:
1) The first is a confered degree that can't be revoked.
2) The second is a permission by a rabbi/institution that the person given the degree is fit to make psak.

The position these institutions should take is that the second aspect can be revoked by a simple statement that the Rabbi in question is not fit to make psak and that their smicha is now revoked. That is a halachic determination that has nothing to do with a conferred degree.

That is not possible with our current Orthodox smicha that can only be revoked by the Rav who gave it while still alive.

But the Orthodox rabbinical movements and institutions can proclaim that the person in question is a rasha and is subject to all kinds of restrictions and that any smicha given by them will not be recognized. Better yet put them on a registry similar to the mamzer registry in Israel.

November 21, 2005 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Donna said...

One problem is that most people think if someone has the title "rabbi" it means that they are respectable individuals.

I know for myself I made a mistake. I trusted a rabbi I met on line. Friends of mine in a Jewish chat room told me he was "kosher". I learned the hard way that he was not. He did not sexually abuse me, yet he did come on to me several times on the telephone. I felt flattered. I didn't know enough to know that it was a red flag.

As time went on, I learned about his extremely unethical behavior. I learned I was not the first, nor the last that would be manipulated by him.

There needs to be a warning system, a list of rabbis that are trustworthy or something.

It makes me sick that our systems is no better then the Catholic Church.

November 21, 2005 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JWB wrote:

Carlebach had his smicha revoked.

Then what would the value of Worch's smicha be since he received his from Carlebach?

November 23, 2005 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JWB ---

Who revoked Carlebach's smicha?

November 23, 2005 4:03 PM  
Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>Then what would the value of
>Worch's smicha be since he
>received his from Carlebach?

Not much in the Orthodox world. He certainly could not join the RCA.

>Who revoked Carlebach's smicha?

Rav Aaron Kotler revoked Carlebach's smicha publicly in Lakewood.

November 24, 2005 5:15 AM  
Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>How does someone NOT from the
>observant world, know who is
>really a rabbi and who is not?

Since the Rabbinical profession has few checks and balances, it is difficult for anyone to determine whether someone has smicha.

Ozair is the classic example of someone who claims smicha, yet when you contact the Rav he claims to have smicha from or inspect the "smicha" (on hotel stationary, with the name of the Rav who supposedly gave it misspelled) he claims, it becomes clear he's a fraud.

But again, even if he had it what is it worth? He's a convicted child molester. Anyone giving him any kavod is out of their minds.

November 24, 2005 5:26 AM  

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