Threats forced a prominent psychologist to resign from a task force on sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community.
Dr. Benzion Twerski, who is also an Orthodox rabbi, resigned after receiving the threats, The New York Jewish Week reported. The task force had been established recently by New York state Assemblyman Dov Hikind.
According to a statement published on the Orthodox Web site Vos Iz Neias, Twerski quit out of fear for his family.
“For several days, I was approached by individuals, some stating that they would cross the street if they were to meet me while walking with their children,” Twerski said. “Others told me that they would not accept my child into their class if assigned. Others used euphemisms that I refuse to repeat. Family members were likewise confronted by all sorts of comments and phone calls.
“My married children had been told to fear ever getting shidduchim for their children. Basically, I was left to choose between abandoning my family for this mission or to take the painful step that I did.”
Hikind has made combating sexual abuse in the Orthodox community a priority following several high-profile cases of abuse by Orthodox rabbis. The Brooklyn lawmaker says he has compiled a dossier detailing “hundreds” of cases of abuse and has threatened to name names if community leaders do not act on his information.