The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter - April 8, 2008It seems strange that Rabbi Yona Metzger would be making the following statement, especially since he was accused of sexual misconduct/clergy sexual abuse (with four men) several years ago.
I strongly disagree with the statement Rabbi Metzger made regarding excommunicating the parents of the children who were so horrendously abused. Even though the actions came from their own hands, I believe that they were being manipulated and were acting under the explicit directions of their spiritual leader/cult leader, Rabbi Elior Chen.
Many individuals who get involved with cults, often have histories of child abuse and or neglect. From past experience in working with ex-cult members, I found that women who have left abusive relationships are also more susceptible to getting involved in cult like groups.
The basic issue is that adult survivors of child abuse (emotional, physical and sexual abuse) and those battered as adults are looking for unconditional love. What happens is they get manipulated in believing that their leader represents "the truth." They no longer are able to access their ability to use deductive reasoning / critical thinking.
Though I do believe these parents should no longer have custody of their children, I do not believe that we should make blanket statements stating they should all be excommunicated. We need to look at each situation on a case by case basis. I also have mixed feelings about the parents and the criminal cases that will be brought up against them. If these parents were unable to access their critical thinking, would they then be considered mentally ill? Were they at the time of each act unable to discern right from wrong? I'm not trying to make excuses for their behavior, it's just that I think there is much more to the story then what we are reading in the newspapers. The parents psychiatric help and exit counseling. This can occur either in a prison or a psychiatric facility. I believe that the parents are most likely individuals who most likely have the potential for rehabilitation.
I do not believe this is true when talking about Rabbi Elior Chen. I do agree with Rabbi Metzger that Chen should loose his rabbinical title and believe he should spend the rest of his life in a prison. I do not believe he will ever be safe to be out with the rest of our society.
Following a spate of allegations of child abuse in the religious community, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metger called on rabbis to "unhesitatingly renounce" such violent acts.
In a statement released Tuesday night, Metzger said that abusive parents and rabbis must be "condemned" and "excommunicated."
He told community rabbis to express their disapproval and the disapproval of the Torah for such "acts of brutality."