Skip to main content Skip to search

YU News

YU News

Pelcovitz Co-Edits Book on Sexual Abuse in the Orthodox Community

A decade after child sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community came to public light, there is a nascent but historic transformation taking place on the issue. Communal leaders, rabbis, mental health professionals, parents, school administrators and teachers, and survivors are ready to fully engage in dialogue, as well as work together to develop and implement definitive intervention and prevention strategies.  All they need is a blueprint to move forward.

Yeshiva University professor and nationally-prominent trauma psychologist Dr. David Pelcovitz, the Gwendolyn and Joseph Strauss Chair in Jewish Education at Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration and David Mandel, longtime chief executive officer of OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services, have created this road map. They are the editors of Breaking the Silence: Sexual Abuse in the Jewish Community (KTAV), the most comprehensive book on the issue. To be released October 2010, Breaking the Silence brings together for the first time the insights and experience of the professionals – psychologists, social workers, pediatricians, attorneys, educators and rabbis – who have been on the front lines dealing with the issue for years. 

“The reality of sexual abuse in the Jewish community has necessitated a comprehensive nuts-and-bolts, hands-on guide for clinicians, community leaders, educators and parents outlining practical approaches to intervention and prevention,” said Dr. Pelcovitz. “This book is an essential resource for all those interested in learning how to better fulfill our responsibility to protect and nurture the next generation.” 

 The book outlines: 

  • distinctive ways that Orthodox Jewish culture, beliefs, and practices can result in a unique presentation in child and adolescent sexual abuse victims
  • practical approaches to prevention and protection that are culturally sensitive to the unique needs of the Orthodox community
  • strategies to effectively implement prevention efforts in homes, schools and communities
  • psychotherapeutic approaches for working with victims and perpetrators
  • Jewish law and the responsibility of the community to deal with sexual abuse
  • the impact of abuse through the voices of survivors
  • myths about sexual abuse that are commonly misunderstood

“Five years ago, the community wasn’t ready for a book like this,” Pelcovitz added.  “There is now a positive sea change, a growing willingness to openly confront the issue and, more importantly, to respond, prevent and protect.  This book provides them with a course of action.”