Chaim Walder (pictured left), a haredi author who was most known for his “Kids Speak” children’s book series was recently accused of multiple accounts of sex abuse. He had been summoned to appear before a rabbinic court and then apparently took his own life. Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of Tzfat, had formed this special rabbinical court along with Rabbi Reuven Nakar and Rabbi Aharon Yirchi, as it was able to move much more quickly than the secular court system could.
Rabbi Eliyahu told Arutz Sheva: “We checked and questioned and asked extensively, witnesses came before us who testified that he committed adultery with married women for many years until he caused them to divorce and be forbidden to their husbands. We have seen a court action on this and have strengthened things with further unequivocal evidence. We also heard recordings in his voice indicating serious acts of sexual crimes he had committed, and we found him guilty beyond any doubt.”
Eliyahu continued, “Even though it was clear to him that he was destroying homes. And even though it was clear to him that he was tripping and defiling the house of Israel, Walder continued on his way without stopping for a moment. We received testimonies about 22 women and girls he harmed, and there is no doubt that these cases are only a small part of the serious damage he caused.”
Rav Eliyahu then commented on how Walder ended his life: “We heard with pain about the suicide of Chaim Walder. It is a pity that he chose this path, we suggested to him that he repair what he damaged. That he apologize to the victims. That he change his ways. That no more women be harmed.”
Rabbi Eliyahu explained that Walder “could have taught many through repentance. It is a pity that he chose the path of suicide. We are strengthening the many victims at this difficult time, their lives take precedence over his life.”