(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Chief Rabbi David Lau has issued a letter to educators in the haredi sector calling on them to report suspicions of child abuse to the authorities and not to sweep such claims under the carpet.
His letter comes in the wake of several indictments in recent months against members of the haredi community for sexual assault against children.
Last week, an indictment was issued against six teachers in a hassidic elementary school in Tel Aviv, while another indictment was issued in May against a well-known haredi rabbi for raping three of his nieces hundreds of times over several years.
In July, an indictment was issued against a leading Breslov rabbi, Rabbi Eliezer Berland, for sexual assault involving a minor.
In Lau’s letter, written last week and made public on Monday, the chief rabbi noted that “of late, terrible phenomena have become known in our court and our sector,” in incidents in which “children have been harmed at home or in educational institutions.” Such cases had been incredibly painful to hear of, he wrote.
“At this time, parents, educators, relatives and anyone who is involved in the holy work of education must keep their eyes open and help anyone in need as much as they can,” Lau wrote.
“Burying one’s head in the sand is not an answer for these difficult and painful issues, and everyone must know that they bear responsibility even if they are not directly affected,” he wrote. “In no way whatsoever should these matters be swept under the carpet, and to evade dealing with these difficult issues will result in many more souls likely to be harmed.”
Lau said awareness of such problems must be increased.