Reports indicate that Chaim Walder’s body was found next to the grave of his son Meir Zvi, who died of cancer in 2019 at the age of 28.
News of the death has sent shockwaves through the Haredi world, which was already roiled by the allegations against Walder. Walder’s Kids Speak books were a practical mainstay for many ultra-Orthodox children.
The story that shook up the charedi world just took a dramatic turn. Now the community grapples with the lessons to be learned in what will surely be a paradigm shift in how abuse is spoken about. As for Walder, talk about מאיגרא רמא לבירא עמיקתא!
— Izzy Posen (@PosenIzzy) December 27, 2021
The top story on the Haredim10 news website calls Walder “The man who influenced an entire generation of kids,” and much of the coverage focuses on his denial of the allegations against him and on the work he did within the community.
Obituary for a man who was revealed (in a beis din, too) to have allegedly used his position of power to rape dozens, children & women: “Blessed memory,” not a mention of his alleged crimes. Shows you just how spineless sites like Bhadrei are. pic.twitter.com/ZfRHHFGVfp
— Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt (@avitalrachel) December 27, 2021
On social media, some are slinging flak at Haaretz’s Aaron Rabinowitz, whose award-winning reporting first brought the allegations against Walder to light.
“Who made you judge, jury and executioner,” one person asks him. Another vows that Walder “will have his revenge from upon high. There’s a law and there’s a judge… Journalism kills, the Torah forgives those who return to the path. Now he’s totally clean.”
Fellow journalists jump to Rabinowitz’s defense. “Aaron Rabinowitz saves lives. The souls of children. Plain and simple,” tweets Haaretz reporter Michael Hauser Tov.