JewishMOM.com salutes two revolutionary organizations that are in the front lines of the holy war against sexual abuse in the Orthodox community :
1. For the past 7 years, “Forum Takanah” has been fighting sexual harassment and misconduct by authority figures (i.e. rabbis, teachers, principals etc.) in Israel’s religious community.
Rabbanit Tami Samet (who provided last week’s “3 Rules to Prevent Sexual Abuse”) is an active member of the organization’s adjudicating board along with Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, Rabbi Yaakov Ariel shlit”a, and many other of Israel’s leading rabbis, rabbaniot, and community leaders.
Through Forum Takanah, victims of abuse can present their complaints to the organization’s board, which then takes appropriate action. In a high-profile case last year, it was revealed that Forum Takanah had forced a prominent Rosh Yeshiva with a long-standing history of sexual relationships with young students to resign from his position and forbade him from conducting personal counseling sessions in the future.
Forum Takanah’s ethical code starts with the stirring words, “There is an obligation to purify our camp from sexual misconduct. There is an obligation because of the mitzvah “Your camp should be holy” and also because of the mitzvah to save oppressed people from their oppressors, as it says “Do not stand on your brother’s blood.”
Jewish moms, say “Amen!”
Learn more about Forum Takanah here.
2. In the US, one of the leaders in fighting sexual abuse in the Orthodox community is OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services serving the New York area, Northern New Jersey, Southern Florida, and the worldwide Jewish communitythrough their website.
Ohel’s website describes the organization’s innovative “RESPECT Program on Sexual Abuse”
“Ohel Specialists provide counseling for victim and survivors of abuse, ranging in age from young children to adults. Ohel also provides education, treatment and consultation services to victims, survivors, parents, educators, schools and community leaders. The RESPECT program engages in outreach to yeshivas and day schools in the greater New York metropolitan area, providing child safety education and training to students, parents, and teachers in a sensitive manner. OHEL also provides consultation and seminars on the issues to communities across the country.”
Watch Ohel’s video featuring Rabbi Dr. Avraham Twerski and others speaking out against sexual abuse in the religious community:
Learn more about Ohel’s programs here: