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Moving Forward – The OU Response To Recent Events That Shook Klal Yisroel

(By Rabbi Moshe Hauer)

The Chaim Walder saga that has unfolded over the past weeks has created upheaval across the Jewish world, as it must. Walder was one of those profoundly sick people who built trust in order to exploit it in manipulative and destructive ways, shattering an entire community’s sense of trust.

There has been a flood of responses to this tragedy. Some of those responses demonstrate a severe lack of understanding of sexual abuse, highlighting the work that remains to be done on abuse prevention, discovery of victims, and response to perpetrators. And many voices have spoken clearly to the issue, bringing to the fore the growing number of individuals who can be turned to and organizations that are doing real work in this critical area.

There is much to say and even more to do. Here we will make only a few critical points:

1. Our primary duty – as parents and siblings, friends and neighbors, educators and communal leaders – is to provide for the safety and security of those around us and to protect them from those who would inflict harm. A critical component of that responsibility is to create an environment in which victims of abuse feel comfortable speaking up and receive emotional support and comfort from the community, enabling them to rebuild a sense of trust and belonging.

2. The Walder case is a true horror, featuring a major public figure – a rabbi, educator, therapist, popular author, and media personality – egregiously violating the trust placed in him. The headline-grabbing story..* builds the essential awareness of our need to maintain personal safety in all contexts and relationships.

But we may not allow this moment to pass without increasing awareness of the more prevalent and hidden incidence of sexual abuse between siblings, family, and peers. These are the stories that occur far more often but due to their narrower scope and lower profile rarely create a headline. As a result, we tend to be far less educated about this danger, leaving us less vigilant in detecting it and less receptive to claims that it has occurred.

3. While the Orthodox community has made meaningful – though clearly insufficient – progress in the realms of prevention of abuse and discovery of its victims, our community has made less progress regarding the perpetrators. Effort after effort is stymied by competing pressures. As Moshe Rabbeinu discovered in his first forays into communal life, while it may be easy to defend a Jew from an external aggressor, the opposite is true when Jews threaten each other. In those situations, voices will be raised that paint the aggressor as the victim, with biases and loyalties clouding what should be a clear sense of justice.

We must be clear and unequivocal that incidents of sexual abuse must be reported to the relevant authorities, and that our absolute priority is the health and safety of victims and the prevention of further victimization. Our priority is not the perpetrator or his family.

There is much work that our community needs to do. We need to use this moment to begin to get more of that work done.

*Shortened by YWN editorial staff


[Rabbonim Instruct Feldheim To Cease Publishing Chaim Walder’s Popular Children’s Books After Serious Allegations Surface]

[Leading Bnei Brak Dayanim Pasken Not To Read Walder’s Books Until ‘Further Clarification’]

[Chaim Walder Summoned To Beis Din Regarding ‘Extremely Severe’ Allegations]

[Support Victims Of Abuse: Let not History Repeat Itself!]

[MAILBAG: I Speak Because I Must]

[TORAH UMESORAH: Remove Walder Books; Reputable Dayanim Determine Allegations To Be Facts]

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

29 Responses


  2. Thank you!

    Finally, some sence!

    Between siblings family and PEERS!!

    the OU has heard the voice of Chaylev H’Alyah , and has amplified it to the world.

    The secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.

  3. The OU should keep to its strengths; kashrus, and youth outreach. No one asked them what they think of what’s happening in eretz yisroel or what their opinions are as to what their more knowledgeable and more religious counterparts should do to prevent abuse.

    The self righteous reactions by the less affiliated, be it in secular or MO, are an attempt to justify themselves respectively in their woefully lacking observance by knocking the shortcomings of the charedi community.

    If a charedi rabbi knocks mo community norms, he is lambasted as hateful and the he should keep to his own community

    Abuse is endemic in all communities, countries and groups.

  4. Some of those responses demonstrate a severe lack of understanding of sexual abuse But sadly an even bigger lack of compliance with Beth-Din rules & procedures, which led to the tragic outcome of this case.

  5. Our priority is not the perpetrator or his family¨

    Interesting, does this mean we don´t care about the family, or just that the family is secondary and not the priority in a case like this. I am no professional in these matters, and I am just asking (not challenging) if someone can clarify what that means because I don´t know myself.

  6. As always the OU steps up valiantly to provide us and the world with glib, liberal-pandering apologetics.

    Reminds me of Hauer’s interview with Faucci a couple of years ago.

  7. I am expecting you to censor this comment as you did the edited portion of the article. The level of dishonesty is astonishing. If you truly believe that what they wrote is inappropriate then you should either not publicize it further, or supply a qualifying or disapproving statement. It almost seems that you are looking to get a ride out of readership, as obviously anyone can go and look up the original. Regardless of my personal views of whether the line in question should or should not have been stated by the OU, intend to stop reading your so called news due to the lack of journalistic integrity.

  8. ‘built trust in order to exploit it’
    Is there evidence to this?

    ‘to create an environment in which victims of abuse feel comfortable speaking up and receive emotional support and comfort from the community’
    Who is this ‘community’? Is it the internet community that has no din and no dayin? Or perhaps the inboxes of your local newspaper? Can we just educate parents to the correct course of action and keep this tznius as it should be and not breaking down every kedushah barrior of our mesorah. This should not be a community project. We are not communist Russia.

  9. Since when do abusers kill themselves?
    I thought it was their victims who committed suicide.
    If anyone is aware of a molester committing suicide, please tell us.
    N B. This post is not to say that Chaim Walder was or was not guilty.

  10. On a tangentially related topic, the illegitimacy of part of those advocates on this issue was reflective by the harsh criticism certain circles issued against Chief Rabbi Lau of Israel for having been menachem avol the Walder family during the Shiva. These so-called advocates even want to harm innocent family members by protesting being menachem avol them during their grief.

  11. Rabbi Hauer’s remark that “incidents of sexual abuse must be reported to the relevant authorities” without informing the reader who these relevant authorites are, is a cop-out. He should have said specifically that one should go to the police, as in the past, people who went to rabbis were told to suppress the information. I am totally disappointed in the OU’s proclamation.

  12. has a Frum Tznious educational program to teach Parents, Yeshivos, Rabbeim, Teachers, and Children on how to protect kids from CSA (Child Sexual Abuse).
    Lots of information on their website.
    R’ Shmuel Kaminetsky Shlita said “Its a Derech Eretz Program and should be in every cheder”, and R’ Elya Brudny Shlita said “Its Hatzalos Nefoshos”

  13. Gut Voch

    The discussion on the blogosphere seems to have moved on in the last few days ro an argument between 2 camps:

    Camp A. Decision-making is about who is right.

    Camp B. Decision-making is about what is right.

  14. This author means well, and certainly we must protect our children better. However, he is guilty of לשון הרע. Nothing was ever proved, not even in a secular court, let alone before a Beis Din. The accusers never appeared in person, and no evidence was produced before a Beis Din to support their supposed story.

    Under the circumstances, for this author to speak of Reb Walder as twisted, sick, and so on — i.e. guilty — is untrue and an איסור דאורייתא. The matter is and will remain a ספק, no more.

    Al in all, then, this article is a disgrace. It is a call to ignore halachah and to resort to lynch law, where the mob determines guilt and not the court.

    If we do not remain true to the Law of Moses, what reason do we have to go on living?

  15. Also, it may or may not be true that he had a weak point and fell, but that does not mean this is public knowledge.

    And btw, what does this have to do with his books which don’t have a single word of Schmutz or kfira in them.

    He is not entitled to parnoso??

  16. I am not sure why Walder is addressed as a Rabbi. A Rabbi is a spiritual leader, whereas Walder although having been a therapist,author etc in the religious community, he was never a leader in regards to religion. Even in his many books that he wrote, he didn’t mention anything religious & in fact he shockingly didn’t even mention G-D in his educational books.
    Having said that i respectably ask Rabbi Hauer to remove the title Rabbi from this letter & refrain from degrading that title.

  17. It seems strange that everyone is saying something for after the fact but not much for prevention.
    Day care centers have received attention that there are people who act aggressively to little children.
    Police officers are sometimes accused of violence against alleged perpetrators of crime.
    What has been the response to prevent such things?
    It seems that in such cases such as in therapy, and any situation where an educator must meet with children that a camera that is accessible to authorities could be placed in the room.
    Really, most rabbis will have one of his students present in a room when he answers questions or counsels a woman. Why would a woman not insist on such a thing?
    And for children we must protect them and cameras are a good way to start, not just saying, “Oye! the victims.”

  18. In normal circles we feel that the walder case was railroaded by a kangaroo court. He was driven to suicide.There is a lot more that people may not realize but we chareidim know the insides of this kangaroo beis Din. When you have unstable people making an uproar you have a mess. Thousands of kids are disappointed when things could of been handled quietly and maybe a company would take over the books and just change their name on them and continue writing more. Haste makes waste. Rabbi Gershon Eisenstein and rabbi Tau are correct.

  19. Rats Rats, we mention Haman HaRasha on Purim, and stomp our feet when we heard Haman’s name. I dont see why it would be any different with regards to CW’s name. You can minimize the damage and danger as much as you want. The majority of Gedolim, Rabbonim, Roshei Yeshiva, and Vaadim are on the other side of your personal opinion. I’m sorry you view his abusers as simply an “uproar”, you are very misguided.

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