New York – Imagine that you and your spouse decided to treat yourselves to a high-end cruise for your fiftieth anniversary. Never having done this before, you are blown away by the luxurious setting and are thoroughly enjoying every moment.
In your information packet, you were informed to dress formally for dinner on the first evening of the cruise, so you put on the best clothing from your closet and make your way to the ballroom.
While eating the main dish, someone on the next table keeled over clutching his heart as he fell. A friend of his immediately stood up and yelled, “Is there a doctor in the house?” Almost immediately, a group of waiters and cruise employees sprung into action. But their response was not what you thought it would be.
The cruise operator quickly walked over to the band leader and told him to raise the volume of the music to drown out the commotion generated by the heart attack. Several waiters surrounded the individual who was calling for the doctor. They admonished him for disturbing the ambiance of the formal dinner and physically removed him from the ballroom. While this was happening, another group of cruise employees carried the stricken man out of the ballroom and into one of the empty conference rooms nearby. Instead of canvassing the ballroom for a doctor, they asked one of their associate chefs who took a CPR class several years ago to assist the patient, who slips into a coma and dies shortly thereafter.
Well; that imaginary story pretty much sums up the horrific tale of Dr. Twerski’s harassment at the hands of morally bankrupt individuals which led to his resignation from a panel being formed to – responsibly and in a Torah-appropriate manner – initiate measures to finally start protecting our precious children from the predators in our community.
Reb Benzion is the guy who was forcibly removed from the ballroom so as not to ruin the party. And the fellow with the heart attack represents the innocent, voiceless children in our community who are victims of abuse and molestation.
Back to the story, if I may. Imagine again that you are the couple celebrating their anniversary on the cruise ship. How comfortable would you be after that episode, seeing firsthand that form ruled over substance? That people who called out for help were silenced. That professionally trained individuals who could have perhaps saved the victim’s life were not asked to help him. What would you think of the cruise operator who made those decisions? Would you continue on that cruise or would you get off at the next stop? How comfortable would you be that you would be treated properly if you had severe chest pains?
I ask you to put yourself in the place of our very street-smart teenagers who have immediate access to all the swirls of information and are drawing their own conclusions. What message are we sending them when we allow hooligans to silence a wonderful individual like Dr. Twerski who has dedicated his life to keeping them safe?
Is it any wonder that so many of our kids are heading for the exits when we show them that their safety is not our paramount concern?