5/18/2006

R’ Scheinberg Welcomes Homosexuals

That’s the implication of his comments in Newsday on the Kolko affair, assuming they’re more or less accurate:
According to Framowitz’s lawsuit, Pinchus Scheinberg (sic), the powerful rabbi who was close to Margulies, contacted several of Kolko’s alleged victims, listened to their complaints, and told them that what happened to them was not abuse—that there needed to be penetration and that because there was none, their claims were not actionable.
In essence, R’ Scheinberg is saying 2 different things, about 2 different issues. Regarding the strictly sexual issue, as it pertains to halakha, he’s saying that this is really no more than hotza’at zera le-vatala (masturbation – if Kolko indeed ejaculated; the Newsday report didn’t address this), which is not grounds for disbarring or disgracing a Rebbi. This is the same halakhic argument advanced by Bill Clinton. I’ll return to this issue shortly.

The second, and far more serious issue, relates to the psychological damage to these kids. Rarely are sexual violence and abuse really just about sex. I’m not sure how R’ Scheinberg gets around this one, but whatever you want to say about the sexual component, this is a ma’aseh chabalah (violent act), no less than a Rebbi beating the living @#$% out of his students (remember that chabalah includes ripui, tza'ar, and boshes - liability for rehabilitation - including mental health, pain, and libel, all significant in a case of sexual abuse).

The interesting implication of the first statement pertains to the Orthodox homosexual community, which I’ve written about before (see especially the comment threads). R’ Scheinberg is basically saying that there’s no reason to take any action against an Orthodox homosexual, as long as there’s no penetration. They can be Rabbeim or camp counselors, get Aliyahs, get Smicha, etc.

Who knew that R’ Scheinberg was so liberal?

[UPDATE: Steven beat me to it on this one. I think he's joking, though. I'm not.]
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