Tuesday, May 10, 2005

SIW interview with Rabbi Yosef Blau

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At 2:19 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

http://www.canonist.com/archives/2005/05/interview_with.html#comments

May 10, 2005
Interview with Rabbi Yosef Blau
In a phone interview today, Rabbi Yosef Blau said that he has, indeed, resigned from The Awareness Center "at the moment." He cited two primary reasons for his departure, that "I have to be careful that I won’t be something that is used" in a campaign to discredit the RCA and its actions regarding Rabbi Mordechai Tendler by associating the organization with The Awareness Center, and that he is to be announced as the new president of the Religious Zionists of America this Sunday, and that because "I’m taking on new responsibilities, my wife asked me to do it."
He emphasized that his stepping down from The Awareness Center was a direct result of the pro-Tendler campaign that has found a home in various outlets like The Jewish Press, and has attacked the RCA's decision by proxy through demeaning Blau and The Awareness Center. He noted that he is the only link among the RCA and The Awareness Center, and that now that he's left the organization, the RCA will be freer to fight its own battles. At the same time, he emphasized that "the RCA investigation was something I was not part of," and that "I found out about the rca’s decision by getting an e-mail, just like everybody else." He noted that he's not "even a member of the executive board," of the RCA, and was thus an inappropriate avenue for attacking the RCA's decision-making on this matter.
As to his status as the leading rabbi combating rabbinic abuse, he said "I’ve certainly done my share, and my concerns are still there; I think, time for someone else to do something." As to how the effort would work without as much involvement from him, he said "I’m not the only rabbi in the world, I’m not the only person in the world, and they will figure out, however they want to figure it out, when the complaints come...certainly, the concern for the issue will be the same, I don’t intend to be less concerned, and hopefully others will pick it up."
Speaking of why The Awareness Center has seen its board membership decrease by more than half, he said "they get nervous…they get pressure, and they get attacked all the time." He asserted that there were "people who left because they were afraid of getting sued...even if people in the end get it thrown out, it costs money and time." He said that this is the result of the fact that "Every single case that The Awareness Center deals with, there are individuals who get upset…there’s controversy in everything, and people have defenders."
He asserted that "since The Awareness Center’s a very small operation, and there’s no opportunity to say 'we hired a bunch of guys and we checked it out'...they get nervous" about the legal liability. In this regard, he cited in particular "the supporters of Gafni, the supporters of Worch." When an alleged abuser is identified, he said, "that person has supporters and defenders, and that becomes a very difficult situation; The Awareness Center, which is a tiny operation, cannot fight back.
He added that "it would be more helpful, if, yes, someone would come forward and put in a lot of money, have an organization that has workers, not volunteers," to sort through all the allegations and provide support to alleged victims. "At this point, the philanthropic community has not come on-board," he said.
"The community needs to come out and support an organization," he declared, "The story isn’t all about whether I will or won’t be with the awareness center, it’s abou whether the community is going to step up, and whether it enables, it supports, people who say they were abused, who survived abuse, to present their complaints, not to necessarily be believed automatically, but to get the support that they need."
He said of one potential outlet for continued advocacy, JSafe, "I don’t expect Rabbi [Mark] Dratch to solve all the problems, but it’s a step."

 

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