Agudath Israel and New York’s Child Victim’s Act

Rabbi David ZweibelRabbi David Zweibel, Executive Vice President, Agudath Israel of America.

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Agudath Israel and New York’s Child Victim’s Act

For the 5th time in a decade, Agudath Israel rabbis led by the “Gedolim” are lobbying with the great moral leaders of our time, the Catholic Church, to try to defeat New York’s Child Victim’s Act. The Child Victim’s Act would eliminate the insanely short statute of limitations for child sex crimes and allow New York’s child sex predators to be prosecuted.

You can already see why Agudath Israel and the Catholic Church would be alarmed.

The outrageousness of their combined efforts is sickening. It is incredible to me that Agudah rabbis have little in common with Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist or even liberal Orthodox Jews, but they have lots in common with the Catholic Church.

To better understand Agudah, it’s important to examine who in the Catholic Church Agudah has decided to cozy up to. Cardinal Timothy Dolan (the guy wearing the cross – it’s hard to tell these guys apart by their moral positions on child sexual abuse) used to be the head of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

It has been estimated that the Milwaukee Diocese has had at least 8,000 child sex abuse victims who were preyed-upon by 100 priests. It was revealed that pedophile priests in Dolan’s Diocese were paid off to quietly leave the Diocese. No police, no warnings to parents, no therapy for the kids and most importantly to the Church, no money for its thousands of victims.

But the Church didn’t get away with it. The Milwaukee Diocese eventually went bankrupt due to huge settlement payments to the victims. It was later revealed that Dolan asked for and received Vatican approval to move $57 million dollars out of the Diocese bank account before victims could be paid.

Now that you know who the guy wearing the cross is sitting next to Rabbi Dovid Zweibel, Executive Vice President of Agudath Israel, we can better examine Agudath Israel’s shameful explanations as to why they need to spend so much time and energy fighting to kill the Child Victim’s Act.

Our concern is simply protecting the economic viability of Jewish schools. Yeshivas operate on shoestring budgets.” Rabbi Avi Shafran, Agudath Israel of America’s director of public affairs

JTA – May 2, 2016

Stated simply, legislation that would do away with the statute of limitations completely, even if only for a one-year period, could subject schools and other vital institutions to ancient claims and capricious litigation, and place their very existence in severe jeopardy.  Agudath Israel and Torah Umesorah most vigorously oppose any such legislation.”

Joint statement of Agudath Israel and Torah Umesorah, April 21, 2009

When I read these two statements, it appears that what Agudah is saying is that protecting Jewish schools and yeshivas are far more important than passing legislation that will protect the children who attend them.

Otherwise, the statements should have read:

“We will stop at nothing to protect our children from harm and sexual abuse. Even if that means that Jewish schools and yeshivas who for decades enabled abusers and ignored our children’s cries for help will have to pay for their negligence.”

Do you see the difference?

The second statement is also signed by Torah Umesorah.

This is truly scary.

Torah Umesorah has 760 Orthodox schools in its network educating 250,000 children across the U.S. If you have a child or grandchild, niece or nephew in an Orthodox school in the U.S., they are probably in a Torah Umesorah school.

Think about this – if you are a parent paying tuition to one of these schools, your money is funding a lobbying effort to keep in place laws that allow Orthodox men to sexually abuse Jewish children and never face prosecution. Did you know that this is what your child’s school is doing with your money? Are you O.K. with that?

You might want to have a chat with your school’s principal and ask them to stop spending your tuition money to endanger your child’s welfare.

The second statement from Agudath Israel and Torah Umesorah justifies their lobbying efforts because they don’t want to expose their schools to “ancient claims and capricious litigation”.

The phrase “ancient claims” implies that there is some kind of statute of limitations on criminal child sexual abuse in Torah law, by which victims lose their rights after an arbitrary number of years have passed since they were molested.

News flash to Rabbis Zweibel, Shafran and all the “gedolim” of Agudath Israel – JUDAISM DOESN’T HAVE A STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS!

Rabbis – on what halachic basis do you assert that child sex abuse claims should ever be dismissed in the victim’s lifetime? Either the victim has proof and evidence of the crime or the claim gets thrown out. That’s how justice works.

What you’re doing is ignoring Torah law and denying justice to Orthodox victims in order to protect your precious schools and jobs.


What good are your schools and yeshivas if the children who get raped and sexually abused there leave Judaism in disgust, as many victims already have? Is this what you’re proud of and have dedicated your lives to? Do you think that God really wants you to protect a bunch of bricks at the expense of destroying Jewish kids’ souls?

Eric Aiken is an advocate for Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse and the owner of

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