The president of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) and eight former presidents have jointly called on Rabbi Haim Druckman to apologize to the victims of convicted sex offender Rabbi Moti Elon and acknowledge that he made a mistake for supporting Elon in 2013.
Druckman’s public support for Elon after he was convicted, and his refusal to apologize for that support since new allegations emerged against the disgraced rabbi in December, have led to heavy criticism and pressure against him. The RCA is one of the most influential rabbinical associations in the US.
In a statement given to The Jerusalem Post, the nine RCA rabbis said that Druckman is “a great Torah scholar and a wise man,” but added that his failure to apologize for his support for Elon was a serious problem for them and their constituents.
“At this time he must know that there is no rationale for his support of Rav Elon. We hope that a great leader like Rav Druckman would follow the example of King David who admitted his errors. He should issue a definitive admission of wrong and make a specific apology to the victims of Rav Elon and to the Takana Forum.”
The letter was signed by Rabbi Elazar Muskin, current president of the RCA, along with rabbis Heshie Billet, Kenny Auman, Shalom Baum, Shmuel Goldin, Kenny Hain, Shlomo Hochberg, Leonard Matanky and Dale Polakoff.
In the letter, the rabbis issued four requests to Druckman: that he publicly admit his error in supporting Elon after the investigation of the Takana Forum; that he publicly apologize to Elon’s victims; that he publicly apologize to the late Rabbi Aaron Lichtenstein, a former member of Takana; and that he establish professional guidelines to protect students of Bnei Akiva yeshivot from sexual molestation and abuse.
In 2013, after Elon was convicted on two accounts of indecent assault by force against a minor, Druckman told the media that the court’s decision had been wrong and invited Elon to lecture at his Ohr Etzion Yeshiva in Merkaz Shapira.
In December 2018, new allegations of sexual misconduct were made against Elon, alleged to have occurred over the previous 12 months.
The alleged victim brought audio and video evidence of Elon’s sexual abuse to Druckman, as well as to rabbis Yaakov Ariel and Shmuel Eliyahu. The three subsequently instructed Elon to stop all public activity and consulting youths in private.
Druckman has come under heavy pressure to apologize since these revelations. Funding has been frozen by two major donors to institutions to which the rabbi is connected.
He issued a vague statement earlier this week saying it was important to “stand against” sexual abusers, but did not apologize for his support of Elon or to Elon’s victims.
In their letter to Druckman, the RCA rabbis noted that two of the former presidents – rabbis Billet and Goldin – met with him at the beginning of January to express their concerns and asked him to publicly admit his error in supporting Elon, as well as to apologize to the rabbi’s victims for having ignored the recommendations of the Takana Forum in 2010.
Read the article in the Jerusalem Post.