The authors examined instances of past sexual abuse and related demographic characteristics in the self-reports of a select group of married observant Jewish women. The article provides statistics and offers conclusions based on a questionnaire that was responded to by 380 Orthodox Jewish women. It was found that while observant Jewish women live in a culture defined by a high degree of adherence to specific laws of conduct, including rules designed to regulate sexual contact, sexual abuse of various types still exists among them. This article generated a lot of discussion and controversy, and a well-referenced link is also be included on this page.
This article discusses the challenge of sexual abuse in Jewish families.
Greenberg discusses the sexual trafficking of women and offers insight into why religious leaders aren't taking a greater stand to eradicate it. She points out that it violates three core principles of Judaism: sexual trafficking as proscribed by the Torah, rules preventing female slaves from being treated as sexual property, and the law against kidnapping. She suggests several concrete activities that the religious community can implement in order to help prevent this problem as well as aid the victims it still creates.
Greenberg discusses the Jewish halakhic sources that condenm the sexual exploitation of children. She argues that the restrictions governing sexuality and sexual behavior in Judaism as well as the importance placed on children in Jewish tradition suggest that such exploitation directly contradicts Jewish values as well as Jewish law.
The article discusses abusive relationships among young people on campus, and educational programs aimed at responding to this problem.
This article covers the reaction to the expulsion of Rabbi Mordechai Tendler from the Rabbinical Council of America for alleged "conduct inappropriate for an Orthodox rabbi." JOFA commented on the allegations and expulsion as follows:
In light of the recent allegations against Rabbi Mordechai Tendler of conduct inappropriate for an Orthodox rabbi, JOFA condemns any behavior, by any leader, that takes advantage of women. The charges are particularly distressing considering that Rabbi Tendler, a strong advocate for agunot, was in a position of trust for many women at a time when they were particularly vulnerable. We applaud the Rabbinical Council of America for taking these issues seriously and instituting formal procedures to deal with them.
Rabbi Yosef Blau addresses the response to sexual abuse within the Orthodox community.
Dr. Klafter provides a well-referenced and balanced critique of the article (linked to on this page) by Rachel Yehuda, Michelle Friedman, Talli Y. Rosenbaum, Ellen Labinsky, and James Schmeidler, "History of Past Sexual Abuse in Married Observant Jewish Women."
A survivor of sexual abuse herself, psychotherapist Lev synthesizes her own experience with those of other Jewish survivors of sexual abuse to shed light on how it is experienced and how it impacts Jewish self-identity and connection with community.
JSafe: The Jewish Institute Supporting an Abuse-Free Environment works to promote a Jewish community in which all of its institutions and organizations conduct themselves responsibly and effectively in addressing the wrongs of domestic violence, child abuse and professional improprieties, whenever and by whomever they are perpetrated.
By Rabbi Zev Farberg
Partnership minyanim such as Shira Hadasha in Jerusalem and Darkhei Noam in New York, wherein women lead certain parts of the service, are becoming a significant force in the prayer experience of the Modern Orthodox community. Although these currently exist only in the biggest Jewish communities, they also exist on numerous college campuses, and as time goes on the phenomenon will probably expand. For some, like me, this is an exciting possibility. However, those in the Modern Orthodox camp who believe that women’s leadership of any part of the synagogue service is a violation of halakha, are concerned.