107 Rabbonim Sign Kol Koreh to Report Child Abuse

107 Rabbonim and Dayanim have signed a Kol Koreh [public proclamation] affirming the Halachic obligation of all Jews to immediately report and notify secular law enforcement when they know of an instance of child abuse.

The Kol Koreh is a historic watershed, due to its unprecedented, broad-based support from a large number of Rabbonim.

Some of the signers include Rabbi Nota Greenblatt, dayan, posek, and rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Gedola in Memphis; Dovid Goldwasser, rav of Bnei Yitzchok in Brooklyn; Rabbi Dov Aharon Brisman, rosh beis din of B’datz Philadephia; Rabbi Peretz Steinberg, co-chairman of Bais Din Agudath Yisroel in Kew Garden Hills; Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Toras Chaim; Rabbi Noach Isaac Oelbaum, rav of Nachlas Yitzchok in Kew Gardens Hills; Rabbi Kalman Epstein, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Shaar HaTorah in Queens; and Rabbi Shmuel Fuerst, dayan of Agudas Israel of Illinois, who was heavily involved in putting the kol koreh together.

The Kol Koreh Reads:

“We, the undersigned, affirm that any individual with firsthand knowledge or reasonable basis to suspect child abuse has a religious obligation to promptly notify the secular law enforcement of that information. These individuals have the experience, expertise and training to thoroughly and responsibly investigate the matter. Furthermore, those deemed “mandated reporters” under secular law must obey their State’s reporting requirements.

Lives can be ruined or ended by unreported child abuse, as we are too often tragically reminded. The Torah’s statement in Leviticus 19:16, “Do not stand by while your neighbor’s blood is shed,” obligates every member of the community to do all in one’s power to prevent harm to others. In conclusion, every individual with firsthand knowledge or reasonable cause for suspicion of child abuse has a Torah obligation to promptly notify the proper civil authorities.”

The complete Kol Koreh and signatures can be viewed by Clicking Here


  • Crown Heightser

    Well, doesn’t it speak volumes when we see that Chabad Rabbonim are not included?

    It can mean one of two things:

    Either, Chabad Rabbonim disagree with this Kol Kriya, and therefore we do not recognize this;

    Or, the authors of the Kol Kriya do not recognize Chabad Rabbonim, and therefore we do not recognize this either.

    The conclusion is the same: It has no application to Chabad.

    • to not the same room

      Or they chose not to sign? Or they were unavailable at the time, or …, or…, or…, or … .
      You wouldn’t speak like this if YOUR child was the victim.
      But If you are abusing your, or someone else’s, child, rest assured, there are enough erliche Rabbonim who did sign, and I, and many others, will rely on them, and will report you.

    • Crown Heightser

      Remember the ho’ra’ah to one who had no Chassidic Rov in his place, the Rebbe told him, “Ask the Misnagdishe Rov and do the opposite”.

      These Rabbonim are not CHabad Rabbonim. Whatever they say – we should do the opposite.

    • K

      Firstly, it is a “kol korek”, not a kol “kriya”! Kriya means: a. reading, ex. ba’al koreh; b. tearing, ex. an ovel tears kriya.

      Secondly, how can the Rebbe tell someone to do the “opposite” of the misnagdishe rov. If the rov tells him that turning on shabbos one may not turn on a light – should he do the opposite?!

      That is the silliest “story” I ever saw and it brings no kovod to the rebbe!

  • One Chabad Rabbi

    Though he doesn’t identify himself or his shul as Chabad. I don’t know if a true Rov would give a blanket statement to this. It would need to be based on a specific Psak to an individual before you can give someone over to the authorities. Halacha is not to be guided by political correctness.

  • 3rd option

    Maybe the Rabbonim were approached and refused to sign it? Did you approach any of the local Rav’s and ask them if they are willing to sign?

  • not everyone knows what abuse

    is,a person can have a mental sickness and call everyone abusative

  • Thank you Michoel Chazan

    At least you openly support this action.
    If a child’s life is at stake, we need people with guts to stand up and do everything we can to save that child.

  • let's be careful not harmful

    i agree with #1.

    And to Mr. “#1-WRONG!!!” I can say – “Crown Heights Beis Din was the first to put out a psak in 2011” – not exactly CH Beis Din, just the 2 members, who did not consult another 4. And if you doubt 3 of the 4, so I doubt 1 of the 2 – Motzi meChaveroj Olov haRaya

  • msw

    and along with this amazing development which will save many, please help people understand how to detect mental illness….psychological as well as psychiatric. its all intertwined. the times demand education in this area

  • DeClasse' Intellectual

    This is a major problem not only with Yidden but with others; hiding one’s head in the sand will not cause the issue to evaporate. and, once the child is abused it becomes an ongoing thing for generations as well as the life of the child. One hopes if there is an incident it will be handeled in the most efficient and discreat manner possible so as to deal with the issue while not defaming the innocent. However, a major issue is that tounges wag.

    • Anonymous

      …but still needs to be stopped. Someone once described these abusers as soul-stealers. and sometimes religion sanity and life itself as well.

  • Agree with Number 1

    Where is our self -pride?

    These people do not consider us part of klal yisroel!

    They do not include our Rabbonim.

    Should we take their opinion into consideration??!!

  • This is NOt in-line with Halacha:

    Boruch Hashem, Tes Ellul, Brooklyn, NY:

    Anyone with even a cursory understanding of the Halachos relating to this would know that this broad psak does not have a basis in Halacha, but rather demonstrates ignorance among many who have supported it.

    As follows:

    There certainly are circumstances where reporting to secular authorities is not only allowed according to Halacha, but required -if necessary-, however, there definitely are also many circumstances (that the above psak includes) where it is forbidden to go to the authorities even if abuse was confirmed and/or even if it was admitted by the abuser.

    Furthermore, one may not report all cases just to catch those which are permitted to report, since one may not value one life as more valuable than another (even an abuser who may not be reported may not be valued more than a victim in a case where abuse should be reported to protect their life).

    One may also not put the onus of pikuach nefesh on another person when the loss of life is by one’s own hand, and certainly not when it is long after. Bechira (free-choice) always takes precedence. More obviously, one who indirectly causes damages (as is the case here with regard to “pikuach nefesh”) is certainly not liable in the worldly court, end of story.

    Besides for the various stipulations in Halacha limiting which offenses may be reported (as relating to this subject), it is ONLY after three confirmed offenses that one may be considered a “serial offender” who must be prevented from offending in the future, or if they are ACTIVELY pursuing the offense (and only in certain cases). Otherwise, it is forbidden to report someone even after the offense has been confirmed since it cannot be expected that there remains a risk of another offense (again until three confirmed instances, regardless of what non-Jewish doctors claim is a “serial type” of offense). One also may only report if there is no other means to prevent further damage (such as admonishing the individual publicly or otherwise, and this is also on a case by case basis).

    If one may not force a Jew to appear before Beis Din by the hand of a non-Jew (to be investigated or stand trial before Beis Din to determine whether abuse suspicions are valid etc), certainly one may not cause them to be judged by non-Jewish courts.

    Furthermore, one may not go to a Beis Din that rules in accordance with non-Jewish laws, so certainly one may not rely on the laws of the non-Jews as a first response.

    Lastly, this psak din has trampled the authority of Beis Din as it pertains to deciding cases individually and ruling whether a case may be reported. Especially since it is no great hurdle to call together three upstanding and knowledgeable Jews to review a given case and rule on the matter. Almost no case is of urgency enough to forgo the short time this takes.

    Abuse is NOT pikuach nefesh
    (as explained above and supported AT-LENGTH throughout Rabbinic literature).

    Abuse is THEFT.
    (Arguably of the worse kind, but it is theft, not a threat to life.)

    This should be sufficient to demonstrate that on numerous counts this “psak din” is against the rulings of our Holy Sages.

    See: Shulchan Aruch, Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Chumash…

    Laws of Bodily Damages, Laws of Reporting, Laws pertaining to Intimacy by Force (against adults and/or children), Laws of Delayed Expiration (from a physical blow), Laws of Causation pertaining to ALL Damages.

    The only ruling as broad as this that may be applied is:
    That all Beis Dins agree to push off other cases in order to rule on all such cases at the first opportunity possible to expedite those cases where action (reporting or otherwise) is necessary to prevent further offense.

    There is no reason to forgo the responsibility of a Beis Din to rule first (they could even appoint “emergency” Botei Dinim strictly for this purpose), especially considering the broad range of types of abuse cases, and the extensive Halachic ramifications which must be considered in each case.

    According to the Alter Rebbe those who support such broad measures without consideration for the details of a case are themselves Mosrim, especially considering the [guaranteed] erroneous classification claimed that such abuse is Pikuach Nefesh. V”dal.

    [I will patiently respond to any replies which are concerned with the Torah viewpoint and not emotional reflexes.]

    Ksiva Vachasima Tova.

    Note: Abuse is repugnant, and WHEN TORAH PERMITS, it must be stopped with as much force as Torah calls for (and stopped by any person, including myself).

    With Blessing for Besuros Tovos.

    • Crown Heightser

      How does “reporting” abuser fit in with Kriyas SHema Al HaMita when we are mochel the abuser?

      As a victim, I was fully mochel my abuser and that gave me complete closure and peace of mind.

      the inability to achieve complete mechila is a chisoron in the victim which needs rectification – for the victim’s own physical and spiritual well-being.

  • Reporter

    As a registered nurse, I am a mandated reporter. Once reported, the experts in this area tactfully unravel the info. Sometimes the claims are questionable, but all too often it is true. Melbourne, anyone? Or isn’t that public info?
    Like it or not, there are laws that protect children.