Religion Magazine

Chaim Walder Needs to Be Sidelined Until It Plays out

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
Chaim Walder, accused of rape and molestation of young girls, is a difficult situation. Walder is super-mainstream in the Haredi community, in addition to being a celebrity and a leader and very "out there" with his books and articles, and he runs organizations and helps children... These situations are difficult. As in almost all similar cases, he has those supporters who say they don't believe it, he could not have done it, he helped me and I never saw anything suspicious, etc. Then he has those saying we can't operate a field court and decide he is guilty, we cant hurt his parnassa, he passed a polygraph, innocent until proven guilty, someone must be trying to take him down, we cant trust a newspaper report - let alone Haaretz, this is against halacha. Then there are those that say there are too many accusers for there not to be something there, the newspapers, especially a serious one like Haaretz, investigate thoroughly to the last detail before publishing so they wont get sued, we have to support the victims, if true every moment he remains in public leadership with his support of the community is hurtful to the victims, etc.
It is true, we cannot run a field court, deciding he is guilty based on a newspaper article with anonymous sources. But when there is such a serious accusation, and perhaps multiple, we cannot leave him in his position of power with access to more children and with the risk of him using his power to influence the community and even more victims. Nobody is putting him in jail, at least not yet, but we have to act on the serious allegations and deal with the suspicion.
After an initial period of quiet from the Haredi leadership, today Kol Hai has suspended the Chaim Walder radio show. Yated Neeman has supposedly decided to suspend Walder's regular column. I think these are good moves. I think responsible parents will not send their children to him for therapy or advice or assistance or whatever he has been doing with children. I think schools he teaches in should put him on temporary leave (which could become permanent). I dont see any other way.
Eichler's in Boro Park has taken the difficult position to remove his books from their stores and from their website.
Chaim Walder needs to be sidelined until it plays out
This is starting to snowball, and while the situation is sad and upsetting, I think this is the proper public approach. some form of "kabdeihu vchashdeihu".

It is not for me to say you should be throwing his books out of your house. Do what you feel is right. 
This situation needs to be let to play out, and he needs to be sidelines publicly until it does.
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