OU, NCSY TO SERVE AS SPONSORS OF OCT 17-24 NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE INITIATIVE
The Orthodox Union and its NCSY youth program will be among the sponsors of the Chicago-based National Jewish Week for the Prevention of Child Abuse, October 17-24, which will lead off with an Awareness Seminar, "Protecting Our Children from Abuse.”
The lead sponsor of the initiative is The (Chicago) Jewish Board of Advocates for Children (JBAC), with its motto, “Child Advocates with a Jewish Heart.” Other sponsors include Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago; Chicago Rabbinical Council; Iggud Harabbonim- Rabbinical Alliance of America; J-Safe--The Jewish Institute Supporting an Abuse-Free Environment; and the Rabbinical Council of America.
According to JBAC, the initiative is “focused on spreading awareness of the problem of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse of children in our community.” Local communities – including synagogues, yeshivas, day schools, and other Jewish institutions -- are being encouraged to “publicize, disseminate, inform, educate, inspire, and support” the initiative, JBAC explains.
Although the weeklong initiative originates in Chicago, the Orthodox Union is calling on its congregations throughout North America to emphasize its message, particularly from the pulpit. As it has done with other pathologies over the past decade, through its “Safe Homes, Safe Shuls, Save Schools” initiative, the OU has taken the lead in bringing aberrant behavior to the attention of the community, disagreeing with those who maintain that these problems are seldom found in Orthodox life, and that where they do appear, they should be dealt with quietly and out of the public spotlight.
“Protecting our children should always be an emphasis of our communities,” declared Rabbi Steven Burg, Managing Director of the OU and International Director of NCSY. “We salute JBAC and other sponsoring organizations for putting together this initiative and for giving child abuse the attention it deserves.”
At its upcoming Biennial National Convention in January, 2011, the OU is scheduled to vote on a RCA resolution dealing with the reporting of child abuse to legal authorities. At that time, should the resolution pass, the OU will call on its member congregations to make the contents of the resolution known to their communities and to urge compliance with its message of protection of children.
Scheduled speakers at the opening event in Chicago, include:
• Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz of the Beth Din of America and the Chicago Rabbinical Council, “Halachic Insights Regarding Child Abuse”
• Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Brisk, “The Issue in the Local Community and Where Parents Should Turn for Help”
• Rabbi Mark Dratch, founder of J-SAFE, “Jewish Law and the Prevention of Sexual Abuse”
• Psychoanalyst Vivian Skolnick Ph.D., “Portrait of a Pedophile”
• School psychologist Asher Lipner Ph.D. “The Psychological Struggle of the Victim of Abuse;
• Attorney Elliot Pasik, JBAC President, on “Legal History of Child Abuse. We’re winning the Battle. What We Need to Do for the Future.”
There will be presentations from abuse survivors, Mark (Mutty) Weiss and Pinny Taub. Patricia Sudendorf, Chief, Sex Crimes Division, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, will speak on “Procedures for Reporting and Investigating Sexual Abuse of Children.”