Regarding Erica Brown’s “Open Letter To Frank Bruni” (Aug. 2, Back of the Book), decades ago, as the news of Catholic Church abuse came to light, many Orthodox Jews snickered with schadenfreude. More recently, as the epidemic of abuse in the haredi community has become public, educated Orthodox Jews stood on their morally superior soapbox posturing how much better they would handle such events should they ever occur in their community, as unlikely as that might be.
Now that the plague has indeed been exposed in their world, the educated Orthodox insist the abuse in their community isn’t really that bad.
Excuses like “those times were different” and “he apologized” don’t make child abuse any less malevolent. Brown’s competitive scorekeeping between them and us serves no productive purpose. The number of Orthodox rabbis who have committed sexual abuse of children may indeed be small. But a drop of cyanide can poison an entire bottle of water, particularly if some who knew about it failed to point it out. In my mind, that’s exponentially worse than a drop of treif in an otherwise kosher soup.