Suffering in Silence Wins Emmy for Best Religion News Story
SFJ Congratulates Shlomo Weiss and Tara Rosenblum
At the 54th Annual New York Emmy Awards this week, reporter Tara Rosenblum was awarded an Emmy for her piece, Suffering in Silence. This television report tells the story of former Kiryas Joel resident, Shlomo Weiss, who was sexually abused by his father from early childhood to age 16. Community rabbis covered up the abuse and protected his father.
We applaud Shlomo for having the courage to go public with his experience of abuse. When SFJ approached Shlomo and asked him if he would be willing to tell his story on television he didn't hesitate. "I have to protect my family and community," was his immediate response.
As a teenager, Shlomo tried to protect himself; he reported the abuse to his teachers in Nitra Yeshiva and also to the most prominent rabbis in his community. Instead of bringing the complaint to law enforcement, they sent Shlomo out of the country to keep him quiet. In sharp contrast, Shlomo's father was allowed to continue driving a school bus in Kiryas Joel and to this day has unrestricted access to children.
Shlomo's message to the community is that the only way we can put a stop to the ongoing cover-up of child sexual abuse and the community's protection of offenders is to report abuse directly to law enforcement.
Thank you, Shlomo, for your selfless courage. You've undoubtedly saved lives by telling your story.
Thank you, Tara, for patiently working with us and producing such a powerful report. Children everywhere are safer as a result of your work.
In the words of Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants."
Established halacha (Jewish Law) places a pedophile in the category of rodef (an imminent threat), in part due to a recidivism rate well in excess of 50-percent. In his 2004 psak (ruling) on this issue, Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv writes that one should report those who sexually abuse children directly to the police and that doing so is of benefit to society. Click here to read a partial translation of this ruling.