Moderator’s note: This is a book excerpt in 2 parts. Part 1 was posted yesterday. When Rabbis Abuse will be published on June 14th, information on ordering below.
Grooming tactics: Targeting the victim
Although there are many ways to target a victim, there is a particular type of grooming that is available to rabbinic figures and other clergy, which comes in the form of pastoral care. Many stories involve glaring examples of this—funeral, bat mitzvah class, depression, or other moments of emotional vulnerability. Often the rabbi-abuser will target people who are going through a divorce—or even worse, recovering from sexual abuse. …
Brenda, for example, says that the rabbi targeted her when she was at a very stressful time in her life and having what she described as “emotional issues”:
I was making my son’s bar mitzvah, and it was a lot of work. I was having some emotional issues because I’m more observant than my family and most of my family is pretty secular and it’s always challenging to get my family to be engaged, and I was feeling stressed and hurt because a lot of my relatives had decided not to come.
Continue reading “When Rabbis Abuse: Power, Gender, and Status in the Dynamics of Sexual Abuse in Jewish Culture, Part 2 by Dr. Elana Sztokman”
Moderator’s note: This is a book excerpt in 2 parts. Part 2 tomorrow. When Rabbis Abuse will be published on June 14th, information on ordering below.
When I started this research in 2015, I was not expecting rabbis to be the headliners. I was looking at abuse in general in our community. When I began conducting interviews on this topic, I was startled to discover how many of the abusers described by interviewees were rabbis.
Although anthropology does not claim to offer statistical evidence or representative sampling, and although I efforted to maintain listening neutrality and non-judgment, I was nonetheless swept away by hearing so many of these accounts of rabbis who sexually abuse. The title of this book is a result of an incomprehensible number of interviewees in which the abuser was a rabbi. I decided to examine the profile of the rabbi-abuser more carefully to understand what this means for our culture and our community, and to use those insights to analyze other cases of high-profile abuse using those paradigms of power in our culture….
Continue reading “When Rabbis Abuse: Power, Gender, and Status in the Dynamics of Sexual Abuse in Jewish Culture, Part 1 by By Dr. Elana Sztokman”