More high-religiosity child molesting

Now it’s the haredim of Agudath Israel defending clerical pedophilia.

Agudath Israel, the trade association of haredi rabbis &#8212 the guys with the black hats &#8212 thinks it would be a bad idea to give the victims of its members’ pedophilia a day in court. I especially like the idea that revealing the fact that some black-hat rabbis like to diddle little boys is an act of hillul Hashem : a desecration of the Divine Name.

Ultra-orthodox rabbis acting like Catholic bishops: now that’s what I call ecumenical!

And no, I don’t think it’s an accident that it’s the fundamentalists of all faiths who seem to have the biggest problem with clerical inability to keep it in their pants.

Footnote The haredim are often confused with the hasidim (e.g. the Chabad movement). Both are sometimes called (by others, never by themselves) “ultra-orthodox;” both dress up as Polish bourgeois of the Eighteenth Century; both are relentlessly hostile to modernity and liberalism. Today they have to some extent come together as allies in the culture wars against the Modern Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist traditions within Judaism and against the Enlightenment. (By the same token, to some extent the ultra-Catholics, the fundamentalist Protestants, and the Pentacostals have come together against mainline Protestantism and political liberalism.)

But in their origins haredi Orthodoxy and Hasidism are near-opposites. The haredim of Agudath Israel are genuinely ultra-orthodox in terms of complete commitment to the details of Jewish law as laid out in the Talmud and Jewish observance as laid out in the Shulchan Orach.

Hasidism, by contrast, with its roots in Kabbalah and the Zohar, is at its root anti-legalistic: the Baal Shem Tov was a mystic, and the religion he founded is an ecstatic one, with some strong resemblances to Pentacostal or Charismatic Christianity.

Update A reader points out that “ecumenical” doesn’t properly mean “interfaith.” Yes, that was a rather nasty in-joke.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: