Hassidic Rabbi sentenced 50 years for child abuse

Question: I read in the newspaper today about a Satmar Hasid named Rabbi Israel Weingarten, who  faces 50 years in federal prison for having raped, sodomized, and abusing his daughter. I cannot make sense of this story. What gives? Why are there so many cases of pedophilia in the Orthodox Jewish community?

Answer: Historically, incest has always been a serious problem to our ancestors; it is not a modern problem per se, but has ubiquitously present throughout history in all strata of human society. Jewish communities are not immune to this tragedy.

Curiously, in Jewish tradition during the Yom Kippur afternoon Torah service, the section from Leviticus 18 is read dealing with the forbidden sexual relations. Many years ago, when I was serving as a rabbi of an Orthodox synagogue, a gay member asked me: “Why we must read the section in the Torah forbidding homosexuality on Yom Kippur?” I answered him that the real reason we read this section is not for the homosexuals, but for those who are guilty of incest! By reading this passage, it is hoped that those guilty of incest and other sexual improprieties will take the necessary steps to repent and banish such evil behavior from their lives. Remember: Had this issue not been so rampant in ancient societies, it would hardly have been necessary to create all sorts of laws proscribing such deviant behavior.

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