I am dismayed by the reporting of The Jewish Week in its story about Netiv Aryeh and Rav Aharon Bina (“Has The ‘Tough Love’ Rebbe Gone Too Far?” Jan. 27). The “Andrew” story is simply not true. I think anyone concerned with our young people and the future of Am Yisrael is saddened that “Andrew” has removed himself from the Torah community in which he was raised.
However, The Jewish Week allowed him to hide his identity while at the same time gave him a platform to attack a respected rosh yeshiva.
The core facts of The Jewish Week reporting were flat-out wrong. In checking out the story, it appears that the young man had a drinking problem and this was the third time he was caught drinking, a clear violation of yeshiva rules. He was brought into Rav Bina’s office in the presence of Rav Bina, Rav Chanan Bina and a third rabbi.
Rav Bina was very concerned that “Andrew” was ruining his life. He told him so and in the course of his statement to emphasize his concern, pushed him on the back of the neck. He never slapped the young man. It seems incredulous were this episode to be the factor that turned “Andrew” from religion.
The Jewish Week was offered the opportunity to speak with this third rabbi who was in the room when Rav Bina is accused of slapping “Andrew,” however you declined to speak with him. Had you made that call, your readers would have learned the truth.
In addition to granting “Andrew” anonymity The Jewish Week also based the majority of its reporting on unnamed sources ignoring the 2,000-3,000 students who have been the beneficiaries of studying with Rav Bina and who adore and revere him.
Editor’s Note: The student reiterated that there was no third rabbi in the room. The Jewish Week stands by its story.