A while back I noted UOJ’s request to speak at Agudath Israel’s annual convention to rebut the leadership’s attack on blogs and that leadership’s handling of the abuse issue. Agudah’s spokesperson, Rabbi Avi Shafran, turned UOJ down, even though allowing him to speak by definition meant outing him. I emailed Rabbi Shafran, who had recently emailed me, and offered to speak in UOJ’s stead or to help him find a credible academic or neutral party to speak instead. Rabbi Shafran turned this offer down in a long exchange, asserting that Agudah’s convention was no place for this to happen.
Understand this well – the Agudah convention is no place to discuss sexual abuse in the haredi community. It is no place to hear from victims of abuse or to learn about the issue from experts or victim’s advocates. It is no place to deal with the internal problems that plague haredi society.
It is a place to express fealty to the gedolim, to feel good about haredism and to trumpet its victories.
I’m sure the God who mandated kindness to strangers, widows and orphans and who excoriated those in power for their abuses and their neglect of the weak and powerless is unhappy with Agudath Israel. But Agudah doesn’t need to worry about that – He is the God of the Reform Movement, not Agudath Israel.