Rabbi Steven Krawatsky and the Orthodox Community
The Avrunins’ lawsuit alleges that members of the Orthodox community knew about Rabbi Steven Krawatsky’s abuse of children, yet did nothing to intervene on behalf of their family. Due to this inaction, their family has suffered greatly.
As soon as Hannah Dreyfus’ article was published, OU Executive Director Marc Lichtman advised Suburban Orthodox Toras Chaim not to collaborate with Krawatsky in any programs it offers.
Early Life and Education
Rabbi Krawatsky’s alleged victims feel betrayed by the Orthodox community, which for two years has known about allegations that he inappropriately touched three boys and asked them to touch his genitals. Why have leaders from OU, Yachad and NCSY not taken action against this abuser?
Rabbi Finkelstein denies any wrongdoing and plans to sue the families involved for defamation. Additionally, he plans on filing suit against Camp Shoresh located in Frederick Maryland as well as Rabbi David Finkelstein who serves as its executive director.
Families of three boys allege in this lawsuit that Rabbi Krawatsky sexually abused them at camp between 2014 and 2015. One family alleges that Krawatsky groomed one boy prior to the abuse by asking him to touch his genitals; these damages remain unknown.
Rabbi Steven Krawatsky has over two decades of experience working in Jewish education. Currently he teaches middle school Judaic studies at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School and runs youth programming for Suburban Orthodox Toras Chaim in Baltimore. Additionally he serves as Rabbi for Yachad, Orthodox Union’s national special needs program for individuals with special needs.
Families alleging sexual abuse of their children by B.A. have reported him to law enforcement and NCSY, the camp in question. Underlying counterclaims seek compensation for harm caused as “direct and proximate result of his sexual assaults”, against B.A., S.B. and O.B.
In January 2018, Krawatsky filed a lawsuit citing defamation, invasion of privacy, and other claims against his parents and blogger who published articles and editorials critical of him. After reviewing all evidence presented during trial, the judge concluded that Krawatsky became a limited purpose public figure after engaging a professional reputation management firm to respond to controversy by creating positive associations about himself while downplaying negative rumor about him.
Achievement and Honors
Orthodox Jews had voiced support for Krawatsky and were convinced of his innocence. He taught Judaic studies at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School as well as leading a teen minyan at Suburban Orthodox Congregation Toras Chaim.
Frederick County prosecutors made their ruling after two boys came forward with allegations of sexual abuse by him; nonetheless, this designation led some in the community to believe there wasn’t enough proof of abuse.
Zipora Schorr, director of education at Beth Tfiloh, told The Jewish Week she was unaware that Rabbi Krawatsky had been investigated for child sexual abuse between September 2015 and March 2017, nor if his initial indications had been downgraded from substantiated to unsubstantiated on appeal.
Rabbi Steven (Shmuel) Krawatsky, a Baltimore teacher and synagogue youth director, is being sued by parents claiming he sexually abused their children. Additionally, this lawsuit includes allegations of defamation and invasion of privacy from both the parents and a New York blogger who wrote that Krawatsky is “extremely dangerous”, yet “good people and organizations knew about him but did nothing”.
After the New York Jewish Week investigation about him, Krawatsky was fired from Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School and Toras Chaim congregation, as well as forced out of running Yachad national special needs program – these decisions based on information received from parents rather than any alleged tortious conduct occurring while employed with them. Now Shira Krawatsky claims this decision by Yachad was due to parent feedback rather than any conduct that occurred within its scope of employment at Yachad or within Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School where she used to lead Teen Minyan before it closed last September.
A Maryland rabbi hired a reputation management firm in order to protect his image after three parents of boys who attended his summer camp accused him of sexually assaulting them. Unfortunately, court found that Krawatsky made himself into a limited purpose public figure by engaging in this action and significantly increased the burden placed upon him to prove the allegations were untrue or act recklessly in disregarding their truth.