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Tuesday, April 08, 2014 

Mordechai Elon stops teaching at yeshivas

The convicted sex offender who humiliated the Zionist religious movement is no longer teaching at the yeshiva where Chaim Druckman allowed him to despite the serious offenses:
Nobody knows why - and no one knows how long it will last - but those who were angry and upset that a convicted sex offender rabbi was permitted to continue to teach in one of Israel’s most prestigious yeshivas are now celebrating his absence.

For the past six weeks, Rabbi Moti Elon has not been present at the Or Etzion Yeshiva for his weekly lecture. It is a lecture he has delivered each week for the past several years - even after he was convicted on two counts of forcible sexual assault against a minor. The yeshiva refused to officially confirm to the Hebrew language site Walla, which reported the story, whether or not his weekly lesson had been permanently terminated. The director general of the yeshiva refused to respond when asked why Elon was not lecturing and whether or not it was a temporary move.

The fact that Elon was permitted to continue teaching after his conviction was the focus of intense controversy in the Orthodox community over the winter. The head of the yeshiva, Rabbi Haim Druckman, a prominent figure in the national religious world, publicly stood by Elon, declaring in December in a radio interview that the court’s conviction of Elon was a “mistake.”

Defending Elon, Druckman said he is “a warm person who hugs people and for sure people who have problems; he brings them close. Maybe people will say this is okay or not okay, but it is nothing more than this.”

He therefore stood by his assertion that: “I don’t believe there is anything in his Torah lessons that is not kosher. There is no reason not to learn from him or listen to Torah lessons from him.”

But Elon’s victims and their supporters believed the rabbi’s history and conviction in court was a very good reason to distance him from young students.

Since Druckman, in addition to heading Or Etzion, also serves as chairman of the Bnei Akiva schools network, Israelis affiliated with Bnei Akiva turned to the American Friends of Yeshiva Bnei Akiva to protest his continued employment. They also asked for support in pressuring Druckman to reverse the decision to retain Elon and continue to champion his cause and declare his innocence.

At the time, Beit Shemesh resident Miriam Zussman distributed a letter to Bnei Akiva supporters abroad, asking them to alert members of the board of American Friends of Yeshiva Bnei Akiva to the issue. In the letter, she describes Elon as a “dangerous, habitual sexual predator.” She said the decision to allow him to continue teaching “reflects very badly on Rabbi Druckman's judgment and calls into question whether he should be entrusted with the welfare of the 24,000 students in the school network.”

When none of these efforts seemed to move Druckman and Elon’s lectures continued, but a determined group refused to watch Elon return to yeshiva life as if nothing had happened. The group, primarily made up of women and young people, led by Emunah Klein, began holding a weekly protest vigil outside the yeshiva each time Elon gave a lesson.

Even if there has been no official word on why Elon had stopped teaching, Zussman – who distributed the Bnei Akiva protest letter – credited the vigils for putting the yeshiva under pressure.

“Finally, thanks to a small group of dedicated kids, led by Emunah Klein, justice has prevailed and the protection that Rabbi Druckman afforded to Moti Elon – an unapologetic, convicted child abuser – has hopefully come to an end,” she said. “I would prefer to hear an official apology, but I am not sure that will happen. I certainly hope that Rabbi Druckman does not change his mind and allow this convicted sex offender to teach youth again.”
Now if Elon had cooperated with all concerned and suspended his business in teaching while the investigation was going on, he would've been setting a good example. But he continued onwards like nothing happened, acting as though he was incapable of any wrongdoing, and never said he was sorry. A very poor example for a would-be rabbi, and now he and Druckman are paying a price. And Druckman wasn't making things better when he suggested the victims are nuts or something. A shame this had to happen, but that's reality.

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