Why does sexual abuse in Orthodox communities go unreported and unpunished?

A flyer on a wall in Israel reading "We believe the victims", posted in reaction to allegations that author Chaim Walder was a serial child sexual abuser. (Credit: Chochmat Nashim/Facebook)

Za’akah, an organization that helps survivors of childhood sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community, recently posted on social media about the arrest of an elderly Quebec rabbi who was charged with sex crimes against a minor that date back 25 years. With a publication ban on the complainant’s name, we can’t reveal too many details at this time, except to confirm that there was an arrest warrant issued two years ago and the man was picked up at around Passover 2022 in Toronto.

The announcement came just weeks before The CJN published an essay by Lorie Wolf, a musician in Toronto who decided to go public accusing a doctor of sexually assaulting her when she was 17.

In both cases, the accused men wound up not at a police station, but a beit din—the rabbinical court that handles matters in a quieter fashion. Wolf’s abuser paid a fine and continued to practise medicine for 15 years; the Quebec rabbi, who spent time as an educator in Montreal, was reportedly told to simply leave Canada for Israel—which he did, in fact, do.

To dissect the persistent problems facing the Orthodox community, and discuss the aftermath of the now-infamous Chaim Walder case from Israel, we’re joined by Asher Lovy, the director of Za’akah, and Ariella Kay, a case manager for the organization and one of their social media producers.

What we talked about:


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