A woman who heads an Orthodox women’s organization is told by a university student that a rabbi on the university’s staff has molested her. The student says:
“I was broken, and I cried day and night,” the student, who wishes to remain anonymous, says. “I had reached out for help, and I was thrown into a deep, dark pit. I had never touched a man before that, and no man had ever touched me.”
The organization offers a deal to the rabbi – remove yourself and we will stay silent, if not we go public. The rabbi does not answer. Soon the rabbi’s lawyer sends a letter threatening to sue for libel. In addition, a long list of public figures, professors and rabbis, come out in support of the accused.
Nevertheless, an investigation ensues and the rabbi is dismissed. Later, a prominent rabbinic supporter of the fired rabbi becomes dean of a college at which the woman who heads the women’s organization has taught for 12 years. Her hours are immediately cut and she is threatened with dismissal. It seems to be clear retaliation. The case winds up in court, and is yet to be decided. The woman has this to say about the ordeal she has been through:
“The message for women is: Next time, don’t confront a rabbi, because if you do, you’ll pay a price. Over the years, I have lost many good friends. Neighbors who were like family no longer speak to me. This is a war in the religious world.”
The first university? Bar Ilan. The second? Orot Yisrael College. The message? Rabbis often behave like thugs.