Even as the Catholic Church has been rocked by a massive pedophilia scandal in recent years, the Jewish community also has been buffeted by high-profile cases of sexual impropriety involving rabbis and other authority figures.How extensive is the problem of clergy sex abuse in the Jewish community? It depends on which criteria are used as a yardstick.
There is no unabridged database of rabbinic sexual abusers. But there is the Awareness Center. It's not a physical place, but a Baltimore post office box, cellphone number and Web site.
Within Jewish circles, much of the focus on sexual predators has centered on the Orthodox community, particularly its more ultra-religious precincts, where some contend that clergy sex abuse is more hidden -- and possibly more widespread -- than elsewhere. Whether or not those contentions are true, the problem in that community was spotlighted by two recent episodes in the fervently Orthodox, or haredi, community.