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Abuse in the Jewish Community: Religious and Communal Factors that Undermine the Apprehension of Offenders and the Treatment of Victims Hardcover – November 1, 2011
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''Dr. Michael Salamon raises some very important questions about the role of spiritual leaders giving guidance on matters of abuse in the Jewish community. One need not agree with Dr. Salamon on every case he cites to recognize that the issues he addresses must be confronted by the Jewish community and its leadership.'' --Rabbi Hershel Billet
''Dr. Michael Salamon combines years of experience in treating victims of sexual abuse and an intimate knowledge of Orthodox Judaism. In his valuable new book he clarifies the trauma resulting from abuse and the particular impact of religious values in creating difficulties in confronting predators and in therapy. Reading this work will help the community make the changes needed to effectively reduce the present threat to many of our youth.'' --Rabbi Yosef Blau
''Dr. Michael Salamon, a clinical psychologist with 2 decades of experience treating frum victims of abuse, is the author of the newly-released book Abuse in the Jewish Community: Religious and Communal Factors that Undermine the Apprehension of Offenders and the Treatment of Victims (Urim). This excellent, comprehensive book provides harrowing statistics and stories that illustrate the extent as well as the causes of this widespread evil within our midst.
On behalf of all JewishMOMs everywhere I would like to thank Dr. Salamon and his publisher (and mine) Tzvi Mauer as well as Rabbi Blau, who provides the book's haskama, for taking the brave step to publish and support this controversial book in order to keep our children safe, IY''H.'' --Chana Jenny Weisberg, JewishMOM.com
About the Author
Michael J. Salamon, PhD, is the founder and director of the Adult Developmental Center, Inc. (ADC), a comprehensive psychological consulting practice in Hewlett, New York. The ADC specializes in substance abuse and alcoholism counseling; crisis management; child, family, and marital counseling; and gerontology. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association as well as of the Gerontological Society of America’s Behavioral and Social Sciences Section.
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Salamon describes what constitutes abuse, mistreatment, neglect, violence, and trauma, and narrates many episodes of each in Jewish communities. There is abandonment, stalking, and physical, sexual, emotional, and substance abuse. The abusers are rabbis, teachers, coaches, family members, spouses, neighbors, and a wide variety of people who place themselves in positions of dominance, including social workers, bosses, and camp counselors. Too often people who are abused are not even aware that they are being exploited and mistreated. Salamon describes how abusers manipulate their victims.
Salamon points out that the divorce rate among shidduch weddings - a practice among ultra Orthodox Jews who shun dating and have arranged marriages - is very high because of domestic violence. In 2008, a senior police officer in the ultra-Orthodox community in Bnai Brak in Israel reported that the number of sexual offenses in this community is higher than any other city in Israel. A study showed that in 2007, 95 percent of sexual offenses in Jerusalem were committed by the ultra-Orthodox.
One of the main problems about this tragedy is that most incidences of cruelty are never reported, and many rabbis are to blame for this cover-up. Salamon tells the story of a New York judge who severely and openly scolded a Brooklyn Orthodox Jewish community for trying to hide and gloss over the clear, outrageous sexual acts of a Bar Mitzvah teacher. The bearded offender presented to the court over ninety letters of support from prominent community members, including rabbis, attesting to his outstanding character.
Why are rabbis concealing these scandals? First, unfortunately, many Jews, and rabbis themselves, view rabbis and teachers in an almost mystical manner, as holy supermen, who can do no wrong; therefore any charges against them must be lies, and if not, rabbis feel they must protect the aura of fellow religious leaders. Other say: We can't publicize these scandals because they will create chillul hashem, they will bring shame to Judaism. Still others contend that it is forbidden to turn over a wrongdoer to a non-Jewish court, called mesirah. Others, in shrill pseudo-piety, say that this is tale bearing, called lashon horah. Salamon quotes Jewish legal sources and authorities to show that the application of these teachings to abusers is not only wrong but outrageous. Still others who want to silence the person who is abused argue that Jews need to remain silent about these behaviors to help assure the survival of Judaism. But is this, one should ask, the kind of Judaism that should survive?
In sum, this is an important book. It brings to light details about a horrendous problem that must be addressed and must be solved.