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Ask A Jew: Cleansing the soul after crimes against Jews

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By Hyphen Parent

I am trying to help a man cleanse his soul after committing a crime against the Jewish faith and people. I am not finding any Jewish leaders in Spokane who are showing interest in helping this man (but I am still looking). Can you make any suggestions regarding who else to contact?

In Judaism, we don’t believe we have the ability to grant forgiveness for offenses committed against someone else. If this was a crime committed against a specific synagogue in Spokane, then that is the place to contact. If this is a crime committed against an individual, then that person needs to be contacted. If this is a crime committed against someone else, then the Jewish community in Spokane can’t offer forgiveness.

That being said, many rabbis may be willing to meet with you or your friend to discuss the situation. Just please understand that the Jewish community is particularly worried and on edge right now given recent Nazi marches.
Jewish communities in Spokane include
All of those have contact information on their websites. Phone calls or e-mail are generally the best way to contact them.

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  • reader

    Regarding your comments on my post which was titled: “Cleansing the soul after crimes against Jews”

    I have contacted two of the three Temples you mention some time ago (The other one I didn’t know about) as well as one other that you don’t mention.

    I have gotten the feeling that they don’t want to deal with the issue due to unreturned emails and phone calls. I did, however, get some help from one of them in that the leader of this temple forwarded a letter written by the perpetrator on to the organization where the crime was committed.

    On August 7 my contact in this Temple told me that the victim organization rejected the idea of interacting with the perpetrator. But I was also told at that time that I could have a copy of that organization’s letter, which I quickly requested but, as of this writing, have not gotten.

    This issue is complicated by the fact that the perpetrator is legally forbidden from making any direct contact with his victims so he is trying to work through intermediaries – which I think would be the wisest course even if it was not his only option.

    I have the strong sense, however, that aside from expressing his grief directly to his victims, he really wants to interact with any Rabbi willing to talk with him in order to communicate his regret for his crime against Judaism.

    None of the Temples I contacted seem to be willing to make that accommodation although I think that if I keep trying I may get a positive response eventually.

    How do you think I can help him make effective efforts to make things right – or as right as possible?

    • Neal Schindler

      Supporting Jewish and/or anti-hate organizations financially or through volunteering might be appreciated.

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