Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rabbi Criticized for Rape Blogs

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rabbi Criticized for Rape Blogs

Article excerpt

TEANECK -- The rabbi at the township's largest Orthodox synagogue is facing a backlash over blog posts in which he was dismissive of the issue of rape on college campuses.

Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, who is known for his controversial statements and blog posts, will no longer be a speaker at an educational conference to be held at his synagogue, Bnai Yeshurun, in June because of his comments, according to an Orthodox feminist organization that had been calling for him to not participate in the event.

Pruzansky did not return messages seeking comment, and organizers of the Bergen County Community Collaborative Conference could not be reached.

The rabbi told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency last week that the outcry over his post stems from a culture of political correctness, and that he was trying to make a point that college campuses have "a culture of promiscuity and entitlement" when it comes to sex.

The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance last week urged the organizers of the conference, scheduled for June 26, to cancel Pruzansky's speaking engagement and move the event to a different venue.

The alliance announced in a post on its Facebook page last week that Pruzansky is no longer speaking at the conference.

In the first of two posts on his blog, dated March 31, Pruzansky wrote that one rape is one too many. But he added that the "he said/ she said" nature of many sexual assault complaints makes it difficult to substantiate that a "rape culture" is permeating college campuses. "There have even been occasions when the woman who later claimed she was 'raped' spent the night, or several nights thereafter, with her beau, only to realize weeks later after their breakup that she had been assaulted," Pruzansky wrote.

"If indeed there was a 'rape culture' on American campuses, no intelligent woman would want to attend college," he added. "The fact that more women attend college today than men itself belies the accusation," Pruzansky wrote.

In the post, Pruzansky also said that transgender people suffer from a "mental illness," and he criticized as "insanity" policies that some cities and school districts have adopted that allow them to use public restrooms corresponding to their gender identity. …

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