Book Announcement: Daas Torah: Child and Domestic Abuse

Now available by R’ Dr Daniel Eidensohn and Dr Baruch Shulem!Daas Torah: Child & Domestic Abuse, vol 1 & 2

This book is divided into two volumes – each of which is a complete work and yet they clearly supplement each other. Volume II deals with the classic Jewish sources that are relevant to define and understand the issue of abuse, obligations to help one another, sexuality and saving others from harm – as well as the nature of rabbinical authority. It includes the responsa from the major poskim on these issues.   These sources are all translated into English but the original Hebrew text is also presented. Volume I serves as a commentary and explanation of the meaning of the material in volume II. It discusses the application of these ideas to contemporary reality, as well as providing religious context for today’s society.

Something to think of buying if you are interested in the topic or to donate to the local synagogue, social work or communal organization to help them better address this critical issue in our communities.

To buy (through AishDas’s Amazon Associate store):

Volume I

1. Overview & summary: survey of the major issues of abuse as well providing a concise summary of practical concerns. It includes an Introduction, Practical Guide, Protocols of Orthodox Organizations for dealing with abuse and a Synopsis of the halachic and psychological issues that was reviewed and annotated by Rav Sternbuch. It also has chapters describing a number of actual abuse cases – including those written by survivors of abuse.

2. The Essays provide in depth analysis of a variety topics by experts (rabbis, psychotherapists and lawyers) who share their knowledge and experience on critical issues.

Among those essays is one I wrote on “Watering our Weeds – Changing the System” (very much expanded from the blog entry by that title). My focus is on the question of why the Torah-observant community is not so much holier and more ethical than communities that do not follow the Truth that any differences in the magnitude of such problems (abuse, fiscal malfeance, etc..) aren’t self-evident. My emphasis is on how we as a community can change that. But I also wrote it with an eye to someone who is reading the book because they are themselves an abuse victim, and they may need help separating the authority figure — father, rebbe, synagogue rabbi, principal, etc… — from causing disenchantment with the religion they are supposed to represent.

Volume II

3. Translated Sources arranged by Topic is a comprehensive collection of Jewish legal sources that are organized according to topic for quick access on the major issues. These texts concern the need to protect the individual as well as his right to protect himself. It contains many texts related to child and domestic abuse, rabbinic authority, the relationship between Jewish and secular law and authority, and the Jewish view of sexuality and deviance. It is indispensable for those who wish to learn and understand the original legal sources. It also serves as a convenient and
accessible reference for rabbis who wish to review and refresh their understanding. Lawyers, community leaders and psychologists will also find it useful to understand the parameters of legitimate response when developing strategies to deal with the problem. The third section presents the accepted mainstream views on the topic — including the authoritative writings of the major contemporary authorities.

4. Rabbinic Sources section is comprised of more complete citations of the material cited in the book. They are arranged by name rather than by topic. They are presented here for convenience of those who remember the author of the citation but not the section where the citation is quoted. It is also valuable because often only a part of the material was mentioned in the book.

5. Original Hebrew texts are provided in endnotes to the translation.

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