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NEW YORK (RNS) “I understand better today than I did then that sometimes, when you think you are doing good, your actions do not measure up,” wrote Rabbi Norman Lamm, for decades a leading figure in Orthodox Judaism.

9 Comments

  1. After reading Dr. Norman Lamm’s statement, I want all the people who were allegedly sexually abused at YU to know that in late December I was posting on other sites that I supported their right to take the issue to court. I wrote that after reading up on sexual abuse cases and speaking to many who contacted him, I understood why neither the victims nor their parents spoke up .I encourage YU, its leadership to offer a sincere apology for what happened to these victims. I also encourage the RCA to make a similar statement regarding their members who either looked away or shook off complaints. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

  2. It is time for healing. Wish this statement would have been made earlier. Sexual abuse of any kind must not be allowed and we can not blame the victim. I TOO had to learn this truth and apologize for not understanding earlier. It was the victims who taught me. Apologies should be made and mechila asked. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

  3. Did Rabbi Lamm’s handling of the sex abuse allegations merely reflect his own personal “ignorance” and the general culture of the times (the defense being offered by various commentators), or did it rather express a vicious institutional callousness, with which he collaborated and which arguably continues today?

    In this regard, it is interesting to observe that YU’s current vice provost, while still the chairman of the NYU Jewish Studies department (a position from which he resigned to assume his current post at YU), testified in a court of law that “nobody reads” the NYU faculty code of conduct. One wonders if this statement reflects the ethical standards and attitudes of YU’s current administration. For further information and commentary, see:

    http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/from-the-trial-testimony-of-nyu-officials-and-related-texts/

    http://ronntorossian5wpr.tumblr.com/post/41858790841/does-yeshiva-university-answer-to-a-higher-authority

    And see this account of how the same vice provost of YU recently had letters sent to various legal experts, including Eugene Volokh of UCLA, demanding that they remove certain material, apparently critical of him, from their websites:

    http://blog.simplejustice.us/2013/03/13/schiffman-meet-streisand.aspx

    Was Rabbi Lamm even aware of these efforts and statements by YU’s vice provost? Does YU’s current president, Benjamin Joel (who is a former prosecutor) support the attitudes they seem to reflect? All of this seems to reflect (at best) an ongoing laxity in ethical standards at YU, and it is hard to see how the “apology” of Dr. Lamm could possibly have any impact on the situation.

    • A small correction to my comment above: the current president of Yeshiva University is former prosecutor Richard Joel (not Benjamin). President Joel’s own ethical standards are a topic of considerable interest, as can be seen from items such as the following:

      http://tzvee.blogspot.com/2008/12/yeshiva-university-gave-president.html

      http://thebeaconmag.com/2011/01/news/article-discussing-president-joels-salary-creates-questions-controversy/

  4. “So, I too must do teshuvah.”

    No, not enough. 5yrs in a Federal prison for aiding and abetting…15 if he doesn’t cough up on all abuse charges.

    “… they should be screened by a board of rabbis before being reported to authorities.”

    Wrong. A board of rabbis protecting a Jewish institution would hardly be neutral in its investigations.

    This is something that all institutions should work on…a report of a crime should be passed to the secular authority without delay and without consideration of the harm to the institution such revelations will have.

  5. Wakeupamerica911

    YU had more despicable crimes committed by its leadership against its students during it former president Lam’s tenure. The triple horns ..
    Lawsuits against YU as an institution would only hurt the current students and would reform no one.. More should be extracted straight out of its crooked former leadership.

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