Breslov Rabbi Refuses to See Women After Tzfat, Berland Scandals

Haredi leaders appear to be taking stock of several recent sexual harassment scandals, Kikar Hashabbat reports Sunday. 

On Sunday, Rabbi Shalom Arush, Breslov leader and head of the Chut Shel Chessed yeshiva (Torah academy), announced that he will stop meeting with women during public reception hours in light of the scandals. 

Rabbi Arush explained that the move is to set a precedent for caution. 

"The evil inclination of rabbis is even greater than that of other people," he said, reflecting a Judaic concept that people with great potential also have greater challenges. 

Therefore, he said, he will not see women in person anymore, even if they are accompanied by their husbands. 

The decision was made against the backdrop of at least ten women accusing Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg of Tzfat (Safed) of sexual abuse in a religious context, which made headlines after Sheinberg attempted to flee Israel and was arrested before his departure. 

Another factor was apparently the scandal surrounding Shuvu Banim hasidic sect leader Rabbi Eliezer Berland, who was accused of committing indecent acts against several young female followers and who fled to several countries before being ordered to be extradited to Israel by a Dutch court last month. 

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/198325

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