From its founding by the ancient Pharisees and still today, Orthodox Judaism is Judaism. 1 The state of Israel officially endorses Orthodoxy. For 2,000 years—since before such relatively recent variants as Conservative and Reform Judaism branched off—Talmud-believing Orthodox Judaism has been the spiritual center of gravity of the Jewish people. 2
Now the Associated Press reports that the Orthodox Jewish community struggles to contain what has been a closely guarded secret: pedophilia. 3 AP says that, especially in areas most populated by Orthodox Jews (such as New York where 37 percent of Jews are Orthodox), widespread sexual molestation of children can no longer be denied. Yet "initiatives encouraging victims to come forward or offering support for those claiming they were molested encounter strong opposition, lead to death-threats in the Jewish community…"
In a previous e-alert, "Pedophilia: Thriving in Judaism's Right Wing"4, I related how an Orthodox Jew, Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn assemblyman, is attempting to address what AP calls "a taboo subject" among the Orthodox.
Since Hikind broached the subject on his radio show this summer, "dozens of people have come forward with stories about children being molested in the Orthodox community which strictly follows Jewish law…Dov Hikind says as many as four people a day have come to him over the past three months with painful accounts of secrets often kept for decades, accusing more than sixty individuals."
Yet the assemblyman and radio host faces increasing opposition from many Orthodox Jews who practice pedophilia, condone it, or look the other way. "His campaign has set off a firestorm in the Orthodox community, where people are reluctant to involve secular authorities. One rabbi said he got death threats for speaking out." Hikind said: "In our community, people don't talk about the things they've come to my office and revealed." He said he encourages people who confide in him to talk to Jewish authorities. But none will, he said, for fear of ostracism.
"One rabbi and psychologist told Jewish media outlets he was hounded into quitting a task force on child molestation days after Hikind appointed him to lead it…Another New York rabbi told the Daily News this month that vicious fliers and death threat calls scared him into shutting down a sex abuse victims hot-line he had set up."
Six former students are suing an Orthodox school in New York for allegedly covering up the abuse of Rabbi Yehuda Kolkol, charged with sexually molesting boys. He pled guilty to a lesser charge and was put on probation. Hikind has been subpoenaed to testify as to further evidence against Kolkol or other school staffers.5 Michael Daud, lawyer for the six students, won $11.4 million in damages against a Catholic youth minister who raped two teens on Long Island. With an initial 60 cases of pedophilia emerging, Daud could win similar restitution through judgments against persons in the wealthy Brooklyn Orthodox community.
Why Do They Do It?
Actually, the existence of pedophilia is not Orthodoxy's best kept secret. What truly cannot be uttered by the Jewish community or media worldwide is that the Talmud, Judaism's highest legal authority, encourages pedophilia. If this fact became widely known, it could destroy Judaism as one of the world's great religions. It would confirm millennia of "anti-Semitic" accusations (beginning with Jesus' incendiary attacks on the Pharisees) that pharisaic Judaism is based on gutter values.
In my article "Pedophilia: the Talmud's Dirty Secret" 6 I document that the greatest Talmudic sages repeatedly upheld the right of Jewish men to marry 3-year-old baby girls by having sex with them. The more Orthodox Judaism is, the more literally it follows every dictum of such rabbinic authorities. Shockingly, one of the most revered rabbis of the Talmud, Simeon ben Yohai, asserts "that a proselyte under the age of three years and one day may be married to a priest." 7
The Talmud says ben Yohai's endorsement of pedophilia is "halachah," binding Jewish law (Yebamoth 60b).
Pedophilia in Israel Today
In a related story, YnetNews.com says that in Israel, "In spite of efforts by welfare officials, local rabbis, state authorities are unable to curb rampant child abuse in ultra-Orthodox families."
It says there emerges "One harrowing case after another, yet welfare officials stand by helpless: faced with a string of heart-wrenching cases of child abuse in the haredi [ultra-Orthodox]…"
"One recent disturbing case, for instance, in which a Netivot mother had sexually abused her son, only came to light when the son began attending boarding school and molested a fellow pupil. The social workers who handled his case quickly realized that the child had no idea that what he had done was wrong." 8
Incredibly, this, too, is sanctioned by the Talmud. In my article "Judaism and Homosexuality: A Marriage Made in Hell" 9, I document the Talmud's repeated permission for women to have sex with boys under age nine. It says such relations are non-sexual and without moral implications. Sanhedrin 69b asserts that "if a woman sported lewdly with her young son [a minor], and he committed the first stage of cohabitation with her [penetration]," –the rabbinic school of the great Hillel (namesake of New York's Jewish Hillel Theological Seminary) declared her "fit for the priesthood" (Sanhedrin 69b).
The Talmud gives the clear impression that boys under age nine are fair game for sexual predation by women and even men. Such passages are not obscure, infrequent, or difficult to find. They are readily encountered in perusal of Talmudic treatises Kethuboth, Yebamoth, and Sanhedrin.
The extreme devotion of Orthodox Jews to obedience to every jot and tittle of the Talmud powerfully inclines us to suspect that Talmudic sanction of pedophilia may underlie the problem of pedophilia in Judaism today.
Is There a Solution?
What can be done? Unlike pedophilia among Catholic priests—which largely results from unnatural repression of human need and is sternly disapproved by the Catholic Church—pedophilia in Judaism enjoys frequent, conspicuous, and enthusiastic support from Judaism's greatest authority, the Talmud. No rabbinate would dare excise its pro-pedophilia passages. These shocking dictums are inextricably linked not only to the infinitely complex and tortuous legal arguments of Talmudic rabbis but also to the authority of its greatest sages. Every year in Israel, tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews gather in Meron, the birthplace of Simeon ben Yohai, to feast, dance and sing for three days in honor of his memory. Yet as I stated earlier, ben Yohai is the Talmud's most influential promoter of pedophilia!
The rapidly growing power of ultra-Orthodox in Israel makes it unlikely that they will be lectured out of indulgence in pedophilia. Jewish social reformers and welfare workers confirm the difficulty, even physical danger, of such a task. Orthodox Judaism is now ascendant in its legalistic rectitude after two centuries of permissive Jewish religious experimentation (which they claim has resulted in worldliness and assimilation); its leaders are in no mood to weaken Talmudic authority.
More than 2,000 years ago, pedophilia was encouraged by the Pharisaic school of Hillel. It will be around for a long time to come. It is part of that state of "all uncleanness" that Christ said is intrinsic to Pharisaism (Matt. 23:27). It will endure until that day when Christ at last obtains a pure and repentant remnant of believing Jews out of the destruction of "the great harlot," international Jewish control (Rev. 18). Then, Scripture promises, He "will have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion" (Is.4:4).
Until that time, the prophet Isaiah still cries out from God, "Oh my people, they which lead thee, cause thee to err…" (Isaiah 3:12)
1. "The Jewish religion as it is today traces its descent without a break through all the centuries from the Pharisees. Their leading ideas and methods found expression in a literature of enormous extent, of which a very great deal is still in existence. The Talmud is the largest and most important single piece of that literature… and the study of it is essential for any real understanding of Pharisaism." (The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, article on Judaism, p. 474.)
2. Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Judaism, especially in New York and Israel, is commonly referred to as "Orthodox" by the Jewish community.
3. "US Child Sex Abuse Claims Divide Orthodox Community," www.ynetnews.com, Nov. 24, 2008.
4. "Pedophilia: Thriving in Judaism's Right Wing," www.truthtellers.org, Oct. 23, 2008
5. Hikind's response to Orthodox child abuse elicits sharp criticism from a former Orthodox Jew. Failed Messiah is written by ex-observantly Orthodox Jew Shmarya Rosenberg; his blog has made him one of Forward's top 50 most influential Jews of 2008. Rosenberg began his blog as an observant Orthodox Jew but when his criticisms of Orthodox criminal activity "got him into hot water with the local Orthodox Jewish community, Rosenberg chose his blog and left his observance behind." His index of blog posts includes over 700 entries about Orthodox crime.
In his blog, Rosenberg summarizes shocking research on rabbinic sexual abuse of children. He provides links to the case of an "alleged haredi child rapist [Avrohom Mondrowitz]" who "fled the US for Israel at the urging of haredi leaders as he was being indicted for raping young boys. He lived safely in Jerusalem for over 20 years, under the protection of the Ger Hasidic community and its rebbes…"
Regarding the Kolko case, Rosenberg criticizes Hikind for wanting Brooklyn rabbis to deal with the problem and vowing to face jail rather than divulge victims' names. "Many of these same rabbis have known about some of this evidence for years. Indeed, some of them have actively covered it up. Hikind is, in effect, asking criminals to help him protect the victims they hurt," says Rosenberg.
He is also critical because Hikind wants rapists, "who are often rabbis, rebbes, and yeshiva teachers," penalized by the religious community not the secular criminal justice system. "This means no sex offender registry for Hikind's abusers. No closely supervised release. No sharing of information across neighborhoods and across countries. An abuser can simply skip Brooklyn for Israel (or for St. Louis, for that matter) and start abusing all over again."
Rosenberg says Hikind's reluctance to submit Jewish rapists to secular authority is horrifying. A child abuser may be set aside as psychopathic, conscience-dead, or a victim of abuse himself. But Hikind, according to Rosenberg, as a New York assemblyman, talk radio host, father, and leader in the Orthodox community, is not living up to his responsibilities; his personal response to the haredi abuses—refusal to actively aid secular prosecution—reveals volumes about the extent of participation in pedophilia in the Orthodox community and the power of influential Jewish pedophiles to silence opposition.
6. "Pedophilia: the Talmud's Dirty Secret," www.truthtellers.org, Oct. 11, 2006.
7. This summary of Ben Yohai's position is found in footnote 13, page 321, Yebamoth 60b of the Soncino translation of the Babylonian Talmud. (The Babylonian Talmud, translated by rabbi Dr. I. Epstein, The Soncino Press, London)
8. "State Helpless in Face of Skeleton in Haridi Closet," www.ynetnews.com, Apr. 3, 2008.
9. "Judaism and Homosexuality: A Marriage Made in Hell," www.truthtellers.org, Sept. 22, 2006.
Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative watchdog organization.
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