Rabbis respond to Fairfax quotes

January 28, 2015 by J-Wire Staff
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The Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia (ORA) is deeply concerned about comments attributed to criminal lawyer Alex Lewenberg which have appeared in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers.

(“Jewish sex abuse victims pressured” 28/01/15).

Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant

Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant

The Fairfax Media reports that a legally made recording of a telephone conversation between Lewenberg and a victim of Melbourne convicted sex offender David Cyprys is told that he should not have co-operated with police.

“Victims of abuse are to be encouraged and supported to disclose and assist the police with investigations into Child Sexual Abuse,” said ORA President, Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant.

The Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, the Rabbinical Council of NSW, and the Rabbinical Council of Victoria have all addressed the issue of ‘messirah’ (informing) very publicly in recent years, and have made it abundantly clear that there is no impediment in Jewish Law to disclosing such matters to the police.

Comments

33 Responses to “Rabbis respond to Fairfax quotes”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    Obviously it’s Chabad that should be doing something about any entrenched nepotism. It’s the Commission that’s allowing it to be brought to light.

  2. Liat Nagar says:

    ‘THE END’ was a bit disconcerting to see there on the screen, Otto. So I shall ignore it, but understand if you don’t respond to this response of mine that it means you don’t intend to.

    Literature and fiction are by no means conventional. They provide more by way of suggestion, for reflection, inspiration, different perspective and sustenance than any amount of nutting things out after involvement in the ongoing realities and dramas of life. It might interest you to know that current studies show that those who read this kind of literature/fiction have more developed capacity for empathy. Some universities, such as Melbourne, have added it as an inter-disciplinary component to a Medical degree.

    Perhaps it might interest you to read Inga Clendinnen’s ‘Reading the Holocaust’, Text Publ. Melbourne, 1998. Clendinnen is a historian, however she writes her findings and thoughts with the same acuity, the same power invested in good poetry and fiction. The result is astounding, as it is with all literature that excels. As David Malouf says she enters the silences and makes them speak. That is something the kind of exploration you speak of cannot do, therefore other dimensions are missing. Clendinnen is not Jewish, however neither is Paul Johnson, whose ‘A History of the Jews’ has been applauded and used in Jewish education.

    Ciao

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat

      passionate “defence” of fiction is perfectly normal and I would not indulge in any kind of philistine comments. All I said was and I repeat ,is that non-fiction has been my main source of information has been since entering tertiary studies at the age of 18. This does not men that I have not read any fiction.
      As about the effects of well written books on the emotive, I am fully aware of what, for instance, a single book, Goethe’s “Werther”, has had upon thousands cases of suicide etc. This also means that it would be wrong to assume that fiction literature is not a valuable esthetic, sociological, even generally political expression of the human condition, quite the opposite deserves the highest acclaim. Not everybody needs to be a researcher, a “qualified” sociologist, historian etc.

  3. Liat Nagar says:

    Woe betide anybody who ever confused my creative wings with flights of fancy, Otto. I should truly hate to feel as much anger in me as that would incur, especially with you! Although my creativity is not an element of the comments I’ve been making on these posts.

    I studied over a long period of time for my University degree, after the Whitlam government’s great gift to the nation, the Mature Age Entrance scheme, came to be, from the time my youngest child started school in the 1980s. A male friend at the time called it ‘a hobby’. It was in fact a dream I had had for a large part of my earlier life, to take up higher education, so you can see where this is a good simile for the mistake you refrained from making. (At the same time, don’t think I’m unappreciative of your effort to make the choice of phrase you did.)

    I did one subject per year until family life allowed more, and I chose subjects, lecture and tutorial times to fit in with being home for my children when school was finished for the day. I studied and wrote essays usually between 8.30 p.m. and 1-2 a.m. while my children slept, and weekends were given to family time. Some hobby.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat

      there shouldn’t be any conflict between arresting raw reality most perspicatiously and allow creative juices of the fanciest brand to distill it. “Further studies” carry no formal degree or limits, they require just understanding of the permanence of the mission. The only obstacle is idiference. Sounds sententious, even Platonic in wording.
      I never had a strong desire to give myself to conventional literature, fiction, too caught up in the dramas of the immediate, the tangible and the need to understand the dynamics of its intricacies – emotions too – and explain all in the same real-istic way. Redundant politeness is the main obstacle I am always at the ready to dispose of. Otherwise, I am known as the universal human panacea for chronical lack of comfort ; so they say, but what do I know…..

      THE END

      • Otto Waldmann says:

        Dear Liat

        don’t get me wrong, I am very interested in learning your opinion on the above…

        otto

  4. Liat Nagar says:

    Otto,
    The fact that others with ill intent might use, out of context, comments I make is not a good reason to refrain from making them. If I were to be intimidated by that notion, I wouldn’t feel free to express an opinion publicly. And, in a way that’s part of the very issue we’ve been discussing.
    Even you have misused my comments, and accordingly misrepresented me in your postings on J-Wire, so obviously that is an area of concern.
    I shall soldier on regardless.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat

      all I am saying is careful choice of expression, but also I insist that even a more careful, well researched and FAIR substance in the necessary critical comments. Best example is the huge gap in reasonable approach by the same Rabbis and ECAJ in their recent formal satements at the Royal Commission on Child Abuse workings. I already said what I felt on that specific thread.
      My friendly suggestions are not meant to clip your creative wings and right here I chose the fair expression bcs I could have said “your flights of fancy ” but I didn’t , did I !!!

  5. Liat Nagar says:

    Dear Otto,

    I find your accusation of anti-Semitism extremely offensive and completely inappropriate to our discussion. It is a weak and spurious way to rebuff comments that you take exception to. Your whole response in your last posting is based on untruth. I can only speak for myself, as I don’t have ‘mates’ or a ‘contingent’ of supporters in regard to the matter. You may disagree with me and you may dislike what I have to say, however you may not call me anti-Semitic. I suggest you re-acquaint yourself with the definition of anti-Semitic by referring to a good dictionary, then reread my writing and try to validate your opinion. Your knowledge of ethics and other intellectual high ground should assist you with this. However, you will have to distance yourself as best you can in order to employ some objectivity.

    I fear you see what you expect to see when reading my comments, not what is actually there. If you read my posts again, with great care, in the clear light of a cold day, you will find at every turn the specific targets of my criticism. What you will not find is an attack on all of Jewish Orthodoxy, nor will you find vitriol.

    For you to see ‘torrents of vitriolic diatribes against Orthodox Judaism under the false guise of defence of some improvised notions of ethics’ can be likened to looking at a small still pond and seeing a raging storm-riven sea with nothing but destruction driving its force. As to the improvised notions of ethics, where are they exactly? My writing shows that I am against judgements that comprise ethics only. That’s one of my main points.

    As to the current Royal Commission, the media coverage is not nearly as extreme in focus or comprehensiveness as reportage on the Catholic Church in the same regard was. Whether you like it or not, the subject and focus here is actually sexual abuse of a child or children/adolescents, whatever the institution. That’s what’s important. And if in your eyes it makes me less of a Jew and/or anti-Semitic to consider that more important than the sanctity of Judaism, then what that reveals to me is the enormous problem you have, rather than any lack on my part.

    The obvious position by Rabbinical authorities of not imposing mesirah is one thing, the actuality of this coming into effect across the wide realm of Orthodox religious communities is another. We can only hope that much work is done by Rabbis to encourage their communities to that end. Unfortunately, status and reputation, as well as a literal, simplistic and rigid approach to the notion of what is ‘sacred, mean such a lot in this regard, so it may well take a long, long time. The Rabbis would have to work hard and energetically to ensure any change here. The conservatism and priorities of very religious communities is such that I despair of it. And if you think that is being anti-Semitic, then you are mis-using the term in the way people mis-use the word ‘Nazi’ when they accuse Israel in their so-called ‘oppression’ of Gaza.

    Come out of your comfort zone, Otto. Stop hurling hurtful and offensive name-calling at anyone who dares criticism of what you deem untouchable. I’ve said before Judaism is more than strong enough to face criticism if its proponents don’t do good service to it, and I’ll say it again. Have more faith.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat
      not for a second did I infer, let alone state openly, that your comments and most of others would be intentionally antisemitic. Clearly – I thought – I made the point that, if inadvertedly and with the best of intentions, a loyal Jew uses terms excessively radical or of similar usage by dedicated antisemites, those statements can be extrapolated either by simple, passive reading or, much worse, by re-use in writing in emphasising their “legitimacy’ in ostensive antisemitic “literature”. I am not paranoic about phrase content, this exploitative/abusive stuff happens with immediate effect once excessive “criticism” is found in public Jewish places.

  6. Liat Nagar says:

    Well, Otto, you’re doing it again: getting starry-eyed about a whole category of people due to what they represent in your own eyes due to your wishes and fancies. I have lived among the ‘Israeli female brigade’ and they are as diverse in their strengths and weaknesses as women anywhere. You have those who prefer clothes shopping, cosmetics, populist pursuits and gossip and wouldn’t give the time of day to politics and higher intellectual pursuits and those who are ego-driven and snobby. You have those who are intelligent, vivacious, vital, with great capacity for seriousness and full of energy for everything coming their way. You need to see beneath the national characteristic of forthright directness and assertiveness to find the vulnerabilities and nuances of disposition that exist.

    As to the Orthodox Rabbis, if, as you say, they are determined not to engage in the thrust of dialectic with a female, would not and could not abide it, then they can hardly expect the respect you seem to think should be accorded them. These particular Rabbis do not dedicate themselves, within the ‘particular construct of specific calls’, to the betterment of the people, they dedicate themselves to the betterment of the male component of the people. They negate fifty per cent of the Jewish population in their thinking and practice. You are definitely on to something here, and your reasoning as to its origins makes perfect sense. Obviously those of that inclination will have to be pulled, kicking and screaming into the 21st century. It has taken until the middle of the 20th century for women to be taken seriously anywhere, within all frameworks of life, and it’s going to take a long time for older men of our time to recognise bad habits of thought and action that are inherited throwbacks to earlier times, vis a vis, kitchen talk and any other loose references that have been the staple default diet for male response when argued with.

    Rabbis who refuse to engage in ‘sophisticated controversies’ with female counterparts, as you say, or consider it beneath them to argue dialectically with a woman, should be reminded of Devorah and her place within Judaism, and should also become acquainted with the century we now live in. Ben’s comment, that you jokingly derided, about the Rabbis who forget the ethics in their narcissistic self-importance (and I might add, sometimes their self-promotion), are very poor examples of Orthodox Judaism, and you’re not doing them a favour if you prop them up with assumptions of profundity and lack of personal aggrandizement just because they have the title of Rabbi. There are far more in our midst than just the few bad apples you refer to. Fortunately, there are others who excel. As I said in my previous posting, different people bring different dimensions to their Rabbinical affairs.

    I would love to taste your tiramisu – my mouth is watering at the thought of it. The stuffed cabbage roll doesn’t sound half bad either. I do love good food, although my aspirations have always surpassed the notion of complete authority over my own domestic domain. Even at 11 or 12 years old I was aware that there was more to life than that.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat

      the main thrust of my arguments is that we are faced here, as we discuss this topic and, I must add, in other places, with a campaign of imputations, fulminating false propositions, “denunciations” of reprehensible behaviour by an entire CLASS of Jewish religious leaders. The obvious origins of these unfair, absurd generalisations targeting all Orthodox Rabbis is easily found in the known rifts within the Jewish faith.
      I will not dwell on details regarding minute , irrelevant in the essence voices of dissent among a small, once again irrelevant number of wives of Orthodox Rabbis meant by your comments to define in such fulminating terms a whole “class” of important, indispensable religious leaders. I will not dwell on the minute differences within the large Charedi communities. What I see here are torrents of vitriolic diatribes against Orthodox Judaism under the false guise of defence of some improvised notions of ethics. The attack against Orthodoxy under the banner of a rejection of mesirah is as fake as it is true the obvious position by Rabbinical authorities of NOT imposing mesirah . Media cover of the Waks depositions at the Royal Commission is far greater than what realistically deserves the relatively MINOR incidents of child abuse and this a reflection of the anxious readiness of general media to “get stuck” into the Jews.
      If all the vitriolic imputations made against the ENTIRE Jewish Orthodoxy would be made outside the Jewish media, social and otherwise, any alert Jew would call each statement as an unacceptable antisemitic manifestation. In essence,actually, what you, Liat and your contingent of objectors do right here on a very Jewish Jwire is just as antisemtic. Anyone can extract the “denunciations” vented here and use them quite effectively against the entire Jewish spectrum and even emphasise their “more acute truthfulness” as they originate INSIDE the very community antisemites attack. Discussions and objections must take place, but there is a stench of visceral hatred coming out of what I read in all these anti Orthodox comments and THAT is the most reprehensible fact. Same applies with even greater accents at what the Waks tandem are promoting at the Royal Commission.
      Such false sweeping statements cannot possibly help what you and your mates profess to protect and defend.

      • ben gershon says:

        Otto

        what is your solution for removing the cancerous orthodox rabbis that We see as besmirching the name of the “good”and serving the community rabbis that you wish to protect from the exposure of public gaze

        please be practical not irrelevant

        remember as a lot of us see most of them guilty of either covering for each other or not speaking out when they knew of the problems

        ben

        • Otto Waldmann says:

          ..sorry ben, can’t helpya, me no oncologist….

          otto

          • ben gershon says:

            it is most informative watching online the commission coming to terms .with the nepotism ,cult of chabbad

            a lesson for us all

            ben

            • Otto Waldmann says:

              …really, ben and how do you see the Commission “coming to terms” with the “nepotism” within Chabad. What’s the Commission about to do about it !!! Enlighten us……

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      The open conflict that I see emerging from these discussions has, obviously, gained SOME pathos and also some defensive/offensive retorts.
      Ben, for instance, goes all the way in generalising and tendentiously misinterpreting what we see here – as he puts it -. Well, what we see here are repeated statements by the Orthodox Rabbinate, meaning the institution and its individual members, of resolute objection of that bloody mesirah. Yet, as an expected reaction, they are still called “cancerous”. I don’t know about you guys ( actually I am getting a very clear picture, but just saying that ), but in my vocation of unearthing features of antisemitism, terms such as “cancerous” in reference to Jews and Rabbis in particular, have been the preferred adjectives found in such publications as “Der Sturm” or an even more horrible one, the infamous Romanian “Porunca Vremii”, trust me. Thus, here, dear Liat, I find the connections to clear antisemitism. Previous comments are not far from it and one only needs to scroll this very thread to run into them.
      Mine is just an immediate reaction to what I see here and I refrain from making sweeping “sociological” type “statistical” statements such as ” most so an so do so and so “. I also take issue with other “class” appreciation in regards to the substance and “effects” of infinitely complex ethical cum spiritual issues, such as the comfortable notions of what unwanted “damage” the entire Judaism is causing humanity if taken seriously, with the kind of deference I am “accused” of expressing here. This radical and generalised criticism of Judaism , I must repeat, is found in a very vast and unfortunate literature of the same associated genre of dismissal of Judaism coming from a variety of sources, Haskala early literature included. All these manifestations have been and still are copiously made use of in the “indexing” of clear cut antisemitic relentless camp, like or not.
      This does NOT mean that I am accusing you, Liat, of intentional antisemitism. Very carefully I said and repeat that the manner in which criticism of a certain situation, child abuse in Jewish institutions, is treated by some, can easily be juxtaposed to dedicated intentional antisemitic literature. The Waks specific contingent are, by far the worst at it, in a manner which cannot possibly aid the cause they have embraced.
      I noticed that Manny, still in a patronising manner, seems to “accept” that the Rabbis he has been besmirching non stop for some time now, have come to kind of accept …his points of view, once again placing his importance well ahead in the issue/debates/conflicts. Yet, in the general Australian media, he has persisted giving interviews in which a broad brush is used to attract the same opprobium toward Orthodox Rabbis and institutions.
      I am sure that, fairly shortly, after the Commission has done its work and Manny has returned to his new place of abode, things will calm down and all these Rabbis will do their jobs mindful of what their real calling is and, unfortunately, how tendentious attitudes still hover even within the general Jewish fold. Alas , we can, then, engage in some other passionate deliberations/exchanges; there seems to be no shortage of topics…..

      • ben gershon says:

        the time has come to excise the chabbad influence from communities councils .until they come clean and removed the barnacles from their leadership

        ben

        • ben gershon says:

          it has helped to show those in the community who did not want to listen to us who were warning of the danger of getting involved with chabbad. to now be more careful of bearded black hated man coming round with a soft sell

          when this is over maybe you can call a conference of the rabbis the have had to leave their positions before rosh hashanah and work out how to get Teshuvah

          ben

          that’s all folk’s

  7. Liat Nagar says:

    Dear Otto,
    By now you well know my opinions and ideas on child abuse and how it is dealt with by many institutions and religious communities, as well as the Manny Waks episode, especially in regard to the Rebbetezin’s response to him. So I shall not repeat myself here.

    In answer to your question, ‘Who do you think he (Manny Waks) is?’ (I think you’re inferring in relation to the Rabbi’s wife), I think he is a person with a legitimate grievance who is dealing with that grievance courageously by making it public. As a person he deserves as much respect as the Rabbi’s wife, or you, or me. Being a Rabbi’s wife in itself does not bestow extra respect. It’s what a person says and does in life that should be accorded the sort of respect you are intimating. So the Rabbi’s wife still has time to earn it, and as herself, not just because she married a Rabbi.

    Please do not try the old male trick of banishing me to the kitchen. I enjoy food, I sometimes enjoy preparing it for people I love, and I enjoy sharing the workload in the kitchen whenever I can, too, with man or woman. I have never in my life attempted to make a souffle and am not likely to do so. The kitchen is only one element of life, which is as it should be, equally open to men to participate in. Both my sons are excellent cooks.

    I am not waging a prejudicial campaign against orthodox Rabbis, not at all. However, neither do I automatically revere a Rabbi just because he is one. Rabbis, just like anyone else, must earn that sort of high respect. It’s not a case of becoming learned, then resting on one’s laurels.

    This, I think, is where you have difficulty in the conversation, Otto. You are so unthinkingly aligned with the hierarchy of orthodox Judaism, that you see red when there is the slightest comment made to prick the balloon. You must well know that different people will bring different dimensions to their Rabbinical affairs. For example, you have Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin appointing Dr. Jennie Rosenfeld to serve as a communal spiritual leader for Efrat’s residents in Israel, which means they can go to her for advice on matters of religious life. This is perhaps something you would not agree with. You also have for the first time in Israel a group of Haredi women forming their own political party, B’Zhutan (I’ve also seen it transliterated as U’Bizchutan). The founder is a Ruth Colian. They seek representation for Haredi women in the Knesset because they don’t believe the men represent their needs or wishes at all – as they put it, ‘struggling against meagre paychecks and empty refrigerators, and domestic abuse and the religious establishment’. They have the backing of their families, but well know the backlash to expect in the wider community. Shas has suggested they work within their party as a women’s advisory committee (you can see where that’s coming from), which offer has been declined. Well, at least Shas did not suggest they get back into the kitchen. I mention all this to show you where my interest and concern lies. I do not automatically criticise Orthodox Rabbis, however, in the less comfortable position of a woman, and on behalf of children, do want good reform.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat

      who’s attacking women, me !!! Never, the only thing I’ve done consistently has been divorcing them which seemingly made them very happy AND more prosperous. As about Israel, once again I wouldn’t criticise it, particularly the yenta brigades. That said, one ( well informed ) would accept that the local, Israeli female breed has a mind of their own, as against the Galuth species far too busy shopping and regularly returning the “wrong” purchases, just to shift the emphasis from the dreaded kitchen. Incidentally, I am revered as a 10 out of 10 chef, particularly in the stuffed cabbage roll genre, not to mention a tira mi su to die for – especially if one is a type 1 diabetic -. So, there on the main topic.
      Otherwise I can understand why Orthodox Rabbis form the darling subjects of outspoken ladies. Nothing to do with food or shmate, but with their indelible determination NOT to engage into sophisticated controversies with female counterparts. I am not joking at all, very serious. I believe that , due to the canonical training at the Yeshive, where arguing for hours with fellow bocherim constitutes the foundation of their mental/intellectual fortitude, the mere image of a meidele to take to pieces dialectically , simply cannot be fathomed. I am dead set serious. Also, a truly Orthodox would only marry a girl who would be perfectly aware of what her husband expects of her, that being a clear division of “labour”, responsibilities and, most important, MUTUAL respect for each other’s GIVEN place in the marital institution. This, mind you ladies, allows the very same wife to exercise COMPLETE authority over her OWN domain, including religious duties and all other seemingly endless chores. I happen to be the grandson and great grandson of incredibly Orthodox Rebbonim and, although never met my Grandparents,I had from my incredibly independent minded Mum, that in her family there were NEVER arguments, demarcation disputes or, G-d forbid, divorces. Plain – yet very sophisticated – sailing, including a Rebbetzin’s passion for opera and very non Jewish classical music, something genetically transmitted to my generation and then further down. So, here is another “there”. Friends again !!!
      Otherwise I believe – and practice – the notion that one must understand the particular construct of specific calls and most Rabbis in “question” dedicate their entire being to the betterment of the people they serve best they understand what is supposed to come out of all those endless man to man, mano a mano Yeshivot encounters. A tiny speck of a few bad apples should not decide, define the character of the magnificent predominantly ( didn’t say “domineering” ) “rest”.

  8. Vivien Resofsky says:

    Thank you Liat. But I don’t see it as a choice. We are talking about the future health of our children. Our leading child protection bodies have led community members to believe that the way in which child sexual abuse was handled in the past were mistakes of the past that occurred when a different mindset about child sexual abuse prevailed. Many people believe that child sexual abuse is no longer a problem due to reform implemented. it is a risk for all children – that can be prevented.

    The fact is that long held cultural norms of Orthodox society need to be confronted and reformed. There is no getting around it.

    Rabbi Kluwgant can choose to encourage Rabbis to support their communities to respond responsibly to child abuse. That involves making public statements denouncing Mr Lewenberg’s actions in relation the victim he spoke to,

  9. Liat Nagar says:

    I applaud your courage in speaking out so clearly and strongly, Vivien Resofsky. Too often people do not find the courage to risk going against their ‘community’ with truths that if left to fester in silence turn to poison. In fact this is bad for the individual victim as well as those in the community who seek to foster a religious institution and/or societal mores rather than the morality of uncomfortable truths. Most certainly Rabbis should be leading the way here and there is nothing within Judaism that would prevent that.

    As to forgiveness, Lynne, it is not up to you, or me, to have an opinion on that. It is completely in the hands of the person wronged, as it should be. The Rebbetzin’s emails to Manny Waks stand as they are, and expose both malice and a particular focus on the subject matter that do not befit her well as a person or a Rebbetzin. Her apology was such an about face as to appear to have nothing to do with the content and was not directed to Manny Waks directly. That is something for her concern, and the recipient’s. There is always the possibility of redemption for anybody and that is also up to the person concerned.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Hang on a minute, all of you broygess ladies !!!

      IF YOU BOTHERED TO READ the statement from the ORA, which represents RABBIS and respective Judaic authorities/institutions, you would notice that all you critical comments regarding Rabbis are completely unfounded. In the said text, Orthodox Rabbis insist that “messira” is NOT what they support, so apart from some absurd anti rabbinical predisposition, nothing else looks like rational in your diatribes. Just because somone is refused the “assistance” does it mean that no alternative sources of suitable assistance would be available. Should vanity precede judicious decisions !!!
      Can you ladies tell the difference between a lawyer and a Rabbi, meaning, if a lawyer would have supposedly said something, EVEN if he happens to belong to an Orthodox shul, how does that impinge on the Rabbis to the point of identity of stances/statements !!!

      I really hope that in your kitchens you show better judgment when you cook “complicated” dishes, such as cholent, because you are making a cholent of your argumentation.

      Also, why would a certain Mr. Manny Waks NOT be told that he is wrong by, once again, a Rabbi’s wife !!?? Who does he and who do YOU think he is !!!
      HOW FAR DO YOU ENJOY TAKING YOUR PREJUDICES !!!!

      • Vivien Resofsky says:

        Otto thank you for your comment. Yes I understand that successive leaders of the RCV and the ORA have made statements about not supporting messira. The challenge these leaders face is to get communities to tow the line. From the article in The Age about Mr Lewenberg it appears that the statements of our leading Rabbis in relation to messira are being ignored at the coalface. What to do? The words of Rabbinic leaders need to match their actions. Rabbinic leaders need to condemn those who have ignored their message. This will send the right message to community members – not to vilify victims of abuse who report to the police.
        On another note. Your comments were stated in a very rude manner. You have made negative comments about me, Liat and women in general. Why? I have seen this technique used many times when the issue of the Orthodox response to child sexual abuse has been debated. It is not a form of discussion and debate that I am familiar with. Otto I think your belittling of women have made you look a little silly.

        • Otto Waldmann says:

          Shaky grounds, Vivien, sorry to say.
          It is anything but not rude to accuse publicly learned leaders of our community of stuff totally absurd and then attempt to twist it by making statements completely devoid of substance. Be so nice and define “coal face” and the accusation that Rabbis do not supervise/control the behaviour of their kelihat. What takes the cake ( another culinary product ) is the offensive farcical claim that clear statements made by COA would be hypocritical ( my words, your inference ).
          Maybe you’d be uncomfortable with words such as gratuitous, prejudicial, unfounded statements and, just to show you how nice I can be, I’ll throw in a cute “thinning the souflee”, but your and all other ladies’ attacks against COA are aptly described as such. Otherwise , if too hot in the dialectical kitchen………

          All this smacks of a concerted prejudicial campaign against Orthodox Rabbis from obvious quarters.

          • ben gershon says:

            No not Orthodox Rabbis .Just the ones that forgot their ethics in their narcissistic self importance

            ben

            • Otto Waldmann says:

              Deep Ben, incredibly deep, next time you delve into such cathartic states don’t bother coming out for air. I’m only jockin’, same as you, I’m sure.

  10. Vivien Resofsky says:

    Rabbi Kluwgant you are ignoring the main issue.. Mr Lewenberg is one of many many examples that highlight why going to the police cannot be taken for granted in the Chabad Orthodox community

    You are flipping the problem onto the victims, “Some victims didn’t want to report incidents to police because they felt ashamed… Imagine the impossible choices placed on the victims. Would you risk reporting if you were a member of a community that was central to your life? Would you risk being shunned?

    In the USA, Victor Vieth (USA National child sexual abuse expert), told Rabbis at Yeshivah University, Centre for the Jewish Future conference that it was up to Rabbis to lead the way in confronting the fear of reporting. What have you done in this regard?

    Rabbis are spiritual leaders. As leaders of the community, they are in the position to spearhead change. To face up to traditions of ignorance, shame, stigma and the avoidance of uncomfortable realities.

    As a social worker, over the last years I have asked you, Rabbi Glasman (ex RCV president) and Rabbi Goodhardt (Rabbi in charge of family violence portfolio) whether I can address the members of the RCV to tell the Rabbis about reform that has taken place in other Chabad communities – that involve Rabbis. The answer has been no. Perhaps it is time to implement the reform required – to confront the cultural barriers to reporting and for Rabbis to spearhead change in Orthodox communities.

  11. Lynne Newington says:

    The relevant lawyer has a little history if The Age August 7 2013 Lawyer Alex Lewenburg attacked ….got the story right.
    How many times can one person alone be a continual victim of assault.

    • Astrid Schreiber says:

      Actually when it involves child abuse and rape it can be hundred of times over years
      But anyway tomorrow the disgrace that are the Jrwish community leaders will be called to account

      How embarrassing and shameful to be a Jeww right now

  12. ben gershon says:

    have the rabbis seen the rabitzsn’s emails to many wax ?

    ben

    • Lynne Newington says:

      In accepting her apology and crediting Melbourne Rabbis for their intervention surely goodwill would’ve put an end to that segment, there was no accusations that Manny Wax had lied.
      In April 2014 an apology was due and given to Rabbi Glick with forgiveness and goodwill extended for what Manny had publicly accused him of albeit part of a defamation settlement….
      Forgiveness to put it bluntly, is burying the hatchet altogether, not leaving the handle exposed ready to pick up and use again.
      No-one has denied any abuse and choosing Alex Lewenburg with his recorded pugnatious attributes there is little hope of any conciliatory path ahead.
      All sounding very familiar…