Jewish leader disagrees with Orthodox leaders on anti-upbringing law


RIA Novosti, 5 July 2016


The chief rabbi of Russia, Berl Lazar, supported the law prohibiting the use of physical force in the upbringing of children and declared that parents have a multitude of means of punishments not associated with violence, the rabbi's press service told RIA Novosti.


At the end of June, the Federation Council approved a bill that partially decriminalized a number of criminal articles. Thus the document provides that criminal responsibility for beatings is entailed only if they are committed against children and other family members, or as hooliganism, or from motives of political, ideological, racial, ethnic, or religious hatred and hostility. The law was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.


"There are very many forms of punishments, and it is necessary to devote every effort so that they do not lead to the use of physical force. A child, by definition, is weaker than adults and he cannot resist. But the more so physical violence on the part of parents can traumatize his psyche and then the final result will be negative and the child will harbor evil in his soul. Adults have a multitude of means of punishment that do not entail violence," Lazar's press service quotes him.


He said that sometimes he has occasion to hear a statement to the effect that children have "burst out" and stopped obeying. "Actually children always follow somebody's example. In the first place, they get an example in the family and in school. If these examples are good, the children will behave properly. Unfortunately, nowadays we see that . . . there are dozens of cases in the public domain where parents bully their children, beat them, and behave like sadists," the religious leader said.


"We proceed from the fact that if a child behaves badly, he is doing so unwittingly, because he, for lack of life experience, cannot always himself understand the results to which his acts will lead. Therefore from the start it is necessary to talk with him, and explain how he is wrong, and how one should correct a mistake. If this is done with love, the child will almost certainly also respond with love, and will behave in the future as his parents have counseled him," the rabbi emphasized. (tr. by PDS, posted 5 July 2016)

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