So one night when I was in tenth grade a friend of mine and I got into a juicy and very personal conversation in the yeshiva’s gym and once we realized that we were late for curfew we decided to just keep talking and wait until the dorm counselor leaves for the night. It almost worked but unfortunately on our way up – fifteen minutes after the dorm counselor should have been gone – we bumped into him on his way out. We were told that we just earned a big knas.
The next day wasn’t fun, I had to tell my father that I needed $15 for a knas, but it didn’t turn out too bad, he asked me whether I needed any more money for “potato chips”, I said that I did and he gave me some extra money. All in all not the worst experience in the world; I stay up late, for that my father has to pay a knas and I get a few extra dollars of pocket money.
The story wasn’t over yet though…
I get called into the menahel’s office sometime that afternoon and he starts pumping me “what were you doing in the basement last night?”
“We were shmoozing” say I
“Until 11:45 at night?”
“Yes” I say with my eyebrows raised in such a way as to make it understood that I’m surprised at his surprise.
“I don’t understand, what are two bochurim doing up until 11:45 in the basement?” Something is bugging him. I’m thinking to myself: what does he think, we had a newspaper down there? We have a radio? Well we don’t so I’m not sure what he wants.
“What were you talking about?” What a chutzpah! Why do I have to tell him what we were discussing, it’s private, I was talking about my family and I don’t feel like repeating it to him. I won’t.
“I don’t understand, what are two bochurim doing in the basement until 11:45 at night?” Jesus I think to myself, we don’t have the New York Times down there I promise.
“What are two bochurim doing in the basement all alone late at night?” I’m at a loss, what can two bochurim do alone in the basement late at night? I finally give away some of the conversation from the previous night, it had to do with my dissatisfaction with my family’s pesach seder – it wasn’t holy enough for me – and I feel violated for having to do that.
I leave the menahel’s office and go back to the beis hamedrash for the rest of second seder, if I was annoyed at all the stupid questions I don’t remember it but I was very embarrassed when I spoke with my father later that day and he repeats, in a hurt voice, some of what I told the menahel about what I think of my family’s seder. Betrayal at the hand of your menahel is par for the course for anyone who has attended yeshiva but to tell something like this over when there’s clearly nothing to be gained by it? All he did was embarrass my father and me. What kind of sick person do you have to be to do that?
Then during supper my friend comes over to me and schleps me outside for a walk, when we’re a block away from the yeshiva he starts carrying on about what a chutzpah this is; while I was in the menahel’s office he was called into the office of one of the rabbeim and interrogated in a like fashion and he was PISSED. “How could they accuse us of this?”
“What?” I asked in the full innocence of the ignorant.
“Why do you think they called us in at the same time? To see whether we would both say the same thing!”
“Nu, what’s the big deal? We don’t have a radio down there, we don’t have a newspaper” He looked at me like I was retarded. The walk ended pretty quickly when he saw how dense I was and that was the last I thought about that story until years later when the meaning of those words that always stuck with me because of their repetition in such a way so that they didn’t make any sense finally hit me “what are two bochurim doing downstairs alone in middle of the night?” at which point I got PISSED! The people who were in the room with me at the time that it dawned on me will remember it for the rest of their lives. Did I ever have choice words for that menahel that day! Oh baby.
Ironically, when a true (rumored) story of bochur on bochur romance took place in my yeshiva a year later one bochur was kicked out while the (alleged) instigator was only kicked out briefly for a few days, but that ain’t all either; before the bochur was even back in yeshiva the news had leaked that he never even had to go home, he was invited to the menahel’s house and that’s where he stayed for his short expulsion.
Truly the sickness of sex abuse cover-up is deep seated in the frum community and it’s not going away any time soon.