As far removed as I am from the religious community, I still have some ties, as well as many friends who also left that world, so I (like those friends) remain in the loop with the news that transpires there.
Like the disappearance of eight year old Leiby Kletzky, and the recent discovery of his dismembered body.
The brutal death of a child is heartrending no matter who the child is. But this case stirs up complicated emotions for me, and for many of my friends who are no longer religious. We all mourn the horrific murder of an innocent child, but we’re also left with other strong emotions:
- Anger (or for some of us, rage), that the community can mobilize to search for this boy, in an attempt to protect him, while it simultaneously does nothing to protect hundreds of other children at risk from child molesters.
- Further anger that the community flaunts its “cohesiveness” and “collective action” to the outside world, proclaiming that they, as Orthodox Jews, are more caring, more loving, more community minded, while that same collective concern is non-existent in other cases of child endangerment.
- Concern that Leiby’s fate was what it was, because of how he (and other frum children) was raised, with complete obedience to adults and no understanding of the details of potential dangers (beyond a generalized ‘the outside world is dangerous’ which may not be relevant in this case, as the accused seems to be a member of the community).
- Mounting trepidation as the facts and rumors pile in, that the accused may have been a known child molester, protected by the community.
- Some guilt and frustration, that instead of feeling sadness alone about this tragedy, there are all these other emotions that inevitably rise.
My heart goes out to Leiby’s parents and family. I also hope that this serves as a wake up call to ALL issues of child safety in the religious community.Printable Version