On child sexual abuse, ask the tough questions
While everyone is giving kudos to the Yeshiva Boys School of Pittsburgh for its swift and appropriate handling of an alleged case of child sex abuse, the silence surrounding the cover-up of four cases of suspected molestation that occurred in Jewish institutions within the last six years is deafening. Which institutions was Det. Bryan Sellers referring to in The Chronicle’s “Day school teacher suspected of sexual abuse in Pittsburgh” (Feb. 24)? Who is looking into this scandal? Where are our religious and communal leaders? If you sit on a board of a synagogue, school, agency or organization, you have a duty to ask some hard questions.
Where is the outrage? What rationale could possibly justify turning a blind eye to the sexual abuse of our children? It should be appalling to every adult in Pittsburgh that there could be at least four alleged child molesters coming into contact with their children and grandchildren at this very moment in the places where we want them to feel comfortable and safe.
We need a thorough communitywide investigation that ascertains whether every organization that works with our young people — youth groups, religious schools, camps — has the proper protocols and policies in place to protect children. Everyone who works with children needs to be trained and understand their duties as mandatory reporters. Nothing less will suffice. Until then, parents should think very, very carefully before entrusting their precious children to any synagogue, day school or other Jewish organization.
Our children deserve better.
Dr. Lori B. Wynn
Thuggery at the Wall
In reading Rabbi Barbara Symons’ harrowing account of her visit to Jerusalem’s Western Wall with the group Women of the Wall (“Now is the time to turn around” March 17), we see once again the evil that is perpetrated by some who cloak themselves in religion.
This courageous woman related the harassment she and her group were subjected to by those who fancy themselves holier than all others, individuals who have asserted a right to intimidate and bully women who dare to believe that they are entitled to pray at a holy site alongside men. The group was yelled at in order to disrupt their prayer and shamefully called “Nazi” and “goy.” They had to fear that stones would be thrown at them, a known tactic utilized by those who will stop at nothing to squelch the rights of others.
This is not the practice of an honorable faith; it is thuggery. We have come a long way in this world in our widespread recognition of civil, gay and transgender rights notwithstanding the election of a president who wishes to set the nation back. It is stunning and reprehensible that some would continue not only relegating women to second-class status, but that they would subject them to harm as they seek to pray. Those of our faith of goodwill and good heart should be ashamed.
Upper Saint Clair