Should Rav Motti Elon Teach On-Line?



As the expression was, when I lived in England: "today’s news, is tomorrows fish-and-chip-wrapping".

The scandal which followed the release of a public statement by Takana in February, regarding allegations of improper conduct against Rav Motti Elon, have submerged into the collective subconscious. Other news and scandals have come and gone, meanwhile.

But all is not totally quiet on the Rav Elon front...

The police made their own investigation, and are reported to have found that no illegal activities had taken place, as the alleged events were with students above 18, and therefore were not minors, and these students had not pressed charges. 

A group of Rav Elon supporters, have now published a website which hosts lessons on line from Rav Elon, in preparation for Shavuot.

Back in February, Takana had announced that Rav Elon should refrain from intimate, personal and private meetings with people seeking his advice or religious counsel.

Roni Rimon, Elon’s media adviser, has been reported as stating that “many students and great rabbis put great pressure on Rabbi Motti Elon to conduct joint study sessions ahead of Shavuot, and the rabbi acquiesced. A few days later, the students decided of their volition to post the joint-study sessions on the Web site.”

So here’s my question.

Is it reasonable for a rav, who has been publicly accused of having (legal, apparently consensual) sexual relationships with his male students, to give shiurim on line?

Comments

  1. why online only? If everythign he did was legal, even if it is not my cup of tea, why should he not be allowed tot each in real classrooms?

    He was accused. he was removed. He was investigated. He was found innocent. I say let him return.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rafi - "He was accused. he was removed. He was investigated. He was found innocent."

    This was not the case. Takana investigated claims of inappropriate behavior, not of criminal behavior. Takana found sufficient grounds to distance Rav Elon from students; and, when he broke their protocol for his required behavior - they went public, in order to protect the public.

    The police, on the other hand, openned an investigation as to whether Rav Elon had acted illegally/criminally, and if so, whether there was a basis for a criminal case against him (and potentially against Takana).

    It appears that having sexual relationships with one's over-18 male students is not, in itself, a criminal offence.

    It is still inappropriate, and Takana are still in business here.

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  3. R' Eilon denies the allegations and nothing has been proven against him. Takana took upon itself the authority of a bet-din while ignoring the procedures of a bet din and the rights of the accused both in halacha and general jurisprudence. R' Eilon accepted their decree of "galut" in order to protect the very people who spoke against him.Perhaps it is time litaken Takana and restore a great Torah scholar to his rightful place.

    ReplyDelete
  4. David, like you, I accept Takana's conclusion that he exploited a teaching context for his personal sexual gratification. Moreover, Takana only announced this publicly after Elon privately agreed to remove himself from situations where this might happen and then proceded to break his agreement.

    I would have some sympthathy for the obviously very talented and charismatic Elon if he did tshuvah. By that I mean the whole deal including true regret, confession, resolve not to repeat those acts and indeed succeeding in not repeating them.

    Since he broke understandings with Takana and forced them to put his case out in public, his confession and tshuvah also has to be in public. He needs to admit that they treated him fairly and he was the one who sinned yet again in the same way.

    In addition given his obvious compulsions he needs to publicly commit to not putting himself and others into situations where the repetition of his sin is likely. Thus he must commit to not having face-to-face, phone or interactive Internet encounters. Given his difficulty keeping such promises in the past (to be charitable about his failures) he has lost his chezkas kashrus. Thus he needs a form of monitored probation.

    I would be sympathetic to his writing, publishing, and Internet publishing under those circumstances. However, there is nothing to suggest that the Internet postings are anything but a first step in his attempting to regain his old situation. The focus on his legal acquittal as vindication makes it clear he is unrepentant.

    His supporters are trumpeting his acquittal by the police as proof of his innocence even though Takana never insisted that he was guilty of criminal charges. In the language used by the RCA in America he was guilty of conduct unbecoming a rabbi.

    Absent tshuvah, he remains unfit to be a "rav b'yisroel," a teacher of Judaism. His unfitness extends to teaching via the Internet.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I viewed his video on his new site. He wasn't merely sharing texts. I was a video of him with older boys or younger men. He is using his landmark hugs and hand holding. Sorry. But I will bet that he will revert to form.

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  6. What is this obsession with giving people who mess up, their same job back?!

    We see this with rebbeim in the chedarim; once they are suspected of being child molesters, there is an insistance they go back in the classroom...in the name of providing a parnassah.

    There's plenty of jobs and professions which a highly talented individual like Rav Elon could practice and make a good living - without putting kids at risk.

    Sell insurance, become a car dealer, a business manager...

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is a serious issue of Rav Elon publically breaking his agreement with the Takana Forum,which included Gedolei Yisroel.
    This is a seious issue of continued denial by
    students and others.
    This is a serious issue of Rav Elon not accepting his status.
    This will only lead to misuse of his rabbinic position and harm to students and others and continued Chilul Hashem.

    ReplyDelete
  8. There is a big problem of a person in authority having a sexual relationship with those under their authority. A male doctor is forbidden to have a sexual relationship with a female or male patient even over the age of sexual consent. The same should apply to a Rabbi or teacher. If a psychologist or social worker would have a relationship with a patient - they would probably go to jail, and if not at least their medical license will be revoked. A Rabbis is similar to these people. See http://www.cpsa.ab.ca/Libraries/Policies_and_Guidelines/Doctor_Patient_Sexual_Involvement.sflb.ashx which states:-
    There are no circumstances,none, in which sexual activity between a patient and a doctor is acceptable. It always represents sexual abuse.
    Also see:-
    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/punishing-a-doctor-patient-romance/
    which states, and I quote:-
    Getting involved with former patients is still frowned on by the American Medical Association, which argues that the relative position of the patient within the relationship makes it difficult to give meaningful consent.
    Relationships between patients and physicians may also include considerable trust, intimacy, or emotional dependence. The length of the former relationship, the extent to which the patient has confided personal or private information to the physician, the nature of the patient’s medical problem, and the degree of emotional dependence that the patient has on the physician, all may contribute to the intimacy of the relationship. In addition, the extent of the physician’s general knowledge about the patient (i.e. the patient’s past, the patient’s family situation, and the patient’s current emotional state) is also a factor that may render a sexual or romantic relationship with a former patient unethical.

    No doubt about it - Elon should be barred from ever teaching again. We all know that many perpetrators come back into the community when a conviction is not achieved. Does this mean there was no inappropriate relationship or crime? He is still a risk!

    ReplyDelete

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