Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse : A statement from Chabad HQ

February 16, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch in New York has issued a statement in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse  hearing dealing with the Sydney Yeshiva and the Melbourne Yeshivah.

The statement reads:

merkos290“The Board of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch, has been following Australia’s Royal Commission proceedings into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse. While we appreciate the need for patience as the process takes its due course, some of the testimony which was shared with the Commission is extremely alarming, and we feel compelled to comment even before the Commission issues its findings and recommendations.

We are appalled and deeply pained to learn of the allegations against individuals associated with some of the Chabad institutions in Australia. The information that has emerged is utterly disturbing, a profound violation of the non-negotiable principles implicit– and explicit–in any and every situation where the wellbeing of a child is entrusted to the care of an educational institution.
The first, foremost and overriding concern of every one of our educational institutions, and of each individual affiliated in any way with those institutions, is the protection—physical, emotional and psychological—of any and every child entrusted to it.
We are confident that the reports emanating from Australia are the rare and unfortunate exception to our institutions; however in light of the allegations now under investigation, we are reviewing procedures and protocol to see how these can be improved and enhanced for better implementation and enforcement. Indeed, given the devastating and long-lasting effects of child sex abuse now well-known, teachers, administrative and other school personnel who become aware of any incidents of such abuse, must act responsibly and report them to authorities without delay.
The unfortunate incidents alleged to have occurred in Australia may have well been avoided if the institutions in question would have adhered to the Child Safety Code guidelines of the Merkos Educational Office. We will therefore take additional steps to ensure strict adherence of these codes by all Chabad-Lubavitch educational institutions, and we will continue to explore additional measures to raise awareness among school personnel, about the dangers, risks and indications of offenses of sexual abuse and misconduct.
We commend the efforts of the Royal Commission, and trust that their involvement in this matter will not only address the immediate situation, but that they will provide broader recommendations as well that will be instrumental in ensuring a safe, sound and positive environment within all schools. We welcome and value their insight.
The decision on the part of the victims to come forward cannot have been an easy one. But it was the courageous and correct one. For in their willingness to do so, they have contributed to a heightened awareness that will prevent other children from falling victim. The suffering and consequences of such abuses are often life-long, and as such, every instance of prevention is a life saved.
In our ethos, every life is a world. Every child represents a world, worthy and deserving of our greatest investment towards their safety and nurture. The victims who have stepped forward to report abuse have surely saved many, many lives, each of them a world unto itself. For this, we applaud them. We pray that they will find healing and the strength to move on. G-d bless them with goodness and kindness.”

Comments

37 Responses to “Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse : A statement from Chabad HQ”
  1. Oliver Colman says:

    Things just are’nt the same without the Rebbe,
    How about we propose an 8th LR.
    I nominate Shmuely Boteach, anyone but that outspoken “Rabbi” from Temple Beth Israel in Melbourne.
    We need to unite under some banner as diaspora Jews, maybe Jews for Israel.?
    Those who ae calling for going public and distancing can’t really be serious .
    Even the Muslims realise the dangers of fragmenting and appearing as a divided community.
    On the Census form, which I have a copy from last time, Jewish is’nt even listed in a long list of religions.
    Q19 What is the person’s religion? Catholic, Anglican (Church of England),Uniting Church,Presbyterian,Buddhism,Greek Orthodox,Islam,Baptist,,Lutheran, Other-Please specify, or No Religion. So does anyone really care about Jews or what they think, other than Jews? Not really

  2. Schneur Naji says:

    If there will be the resignation of the present Chabad Rabbis at the Yeshivah in Melbourne and Yeshiva in Sydney that will send a signal that it is not business as usual. Further the committee at Yeshivah Melbourne need to step aside.
    Other institutions of Chabad like The Jewish House and Kesser Torah College in Sydney are also dominated by a few personalities who never step, open and transparent elections need to be held there too.
    Simplt put, the days of the closed shop is over if you want private donations or public money.

  3. Mendel Schmendel says:

    What struck me about this statement, was how utterly clinical and legally constructed it was. There was a complete absence of yiddishkeit or any genuine sense of sorrow for the layers of disgraceful acts perpetrated. Nor was there any real instrospection about the problems that led to this in the first place, and in particular the blind cult-like behaviour that defers to authority to the point that children were terribly neglected. This kind of problem represents layers of institutional failure. Abuse, cover-ups, victimisation and rationalisations. The leadership of Chabad is completely culpable but shows no genuine remorse.

    • ruth says:

      excellant point. Yes its all about how the lawyers tell them to get around facing the issues and how to win on cold legal grounds. The lack of concern for the welfare of the children is a common response from these disgusting men in power be it in Australia or Jerusalem or any other country. They are only interested to shut up those who speak out and to mock and blame the children and of course protect their buddies.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Mendel, people read your stuff and wonder what could possibly possess someone, suspectedly Jewish, to resort to such gratuitous vile attacks against an institution, Chabad, WHICH IS NOT RESPONSIBLE AS SUCH FOR WHAT HAPPENED IN TWO YESHIVOT WHICH ARE NOT, REPEAT, ARE NOT A FORMAL PART OF THE INSTITUTION you obviously have some serious problems accepting as such. READ THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF CHABAD’S STATEMENT and you will find the most adequate expressions of genuine concern unlesss you have no idea what “appalled and deeply pained ” or “profound violation of principles” in relation to the child abuse reports and concluding with a strong reference to the Child Safety Codes observed by Merkos Educational Office (Chabad).
      I am not saying that you are alone as I have encountered right here the same irrational reaction from a disturbing lot, I nearly said disturbed, but what the heck….

      • ruth says:

        Otto,
        you obviously have no clue how bad the situation really is worldwide. Chabad has had pedophiles in other cases too, like all the various religious, haradi, hassidi , groups have .

        The list is just too long and too horrendous of case after case of men belonging to various groups from Breslev to Carlebach to the local bet knsset whatever it is, full of these men. The men go to join these groups to have easy access to the children in the first place.

        There are various groups on the net who keep a wall of shame of names of perverts, sigh. its very very disgusting but we cannot pretend it away.

        Whatever Chabad wrote or any other group or organization means nothing, nothing at all. I say this in great sorrow . They are trying to do damage control. THEY DO NOT WANT TO KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON AND COVER IT UP TIEM AFTER TIME AFTER TIME.

        I have some letters written by rabbinim here in Jerusalem trying to shut down then a few of us mothers who made the Nachloat pedophiles scandal worldwide 4 years ago, the rabbinim told us to shut up and added on sentance THE CHILDREN ARE NOT INNOCENT.

        This is the reality for people like Manny and others who dare to speak out. we are told to shut up and stop shaming the wonderful rabbinim. The rabbinim are not wonderful and this perversion has been going on for centuries too, it is not new. That is why it is so well entrenched and protected and the powerful men turn a blind eye to this.

        we cannot allow more children to be destroyed because it is so painful to face up that the orgainazations that we thought were solid and fair and good turn out to be fake.

        • Schneur Naji says:

          The vast communities of Lubavitch families are totally and utterly sickened by child sexual abuse.
          These people are demanding fundamental change to how their organizations are run and who runs them.
          Any Chabad Rabbi who has been tainted by the investigation held recently must be made to resign or be dismissed .This goes for the committees members of management who held office over the last decade.
          Decent Rabbis are telling their member to go to the police immediately if you suspect abuse of any child or youth.

        • Otto Waldmann says:

          sad, very sad, Ruth. There you are, in Eretz Israel and you post a sweeping indictment of one of the largest international Jewish institution which is doing a fantastic job promoting our values. Some have died in tragic circumstances, children included, while working as shlihim in places most of us would not visit for one day.
          Chabad is not defined by isolated cases.

          • ruth says:

            OTTO, Exactly because i live in Israel which is called pedophile paradise did you know that? the perverts flock here from all over because they know here our famous laws, that we hear so much about , dont work.
            Punishment is almost non existant at all for perverts and there was not even a law against them, until Avraham Mondrowitz (neighbour)fled here to escape jail time in the USA. He left behing boys who had committed suicide because of him. For those who dont know this monster, he looks beyond creepy, he walks all bent over and has this incredibly evil energy pouring out of him and he is protected by teh Rabbi of Gur here, a well known secret. check it out and continues to rape away merrily

            So a law was made against pedophies for him, but of course he never got punished, they found a grandfather clause to let him escape punishment and they have found more kiddie porn on his computer but then his pals look after him. NOw another american rapist has moved into Avraham’s building with his yeshiva and his wife helps him to find children to rape.

            When I came to Jerusalem 12 years ago, Chabad were fantastic, they really helped me to come back and be part of the community. We always go to the channukiah they light up across the road in the shuik or city centre. they do a great job and only Breslev is better with their dancing joy

            However too many rabbinim from CHabad not only in AUstralia have been involved in pedophilia and one of the biggest rabbinim here from Breslev is on the run for years now from Israel, for his raping and disgusting behaviour to mostly married woman.

            Then we have all the other religious groups who have this problem, they all have it . The local spharadi bet knesset has it, the local ashkenazi one does too. its widespread. its a huge problem that cannot be wished away

            Do i feel good for exposing this, hell no. Its a tragedy for am ysrael but over 200 children in my area alone in city center, mostly haradi , are damaged for life. I walk around this area looking at the children whenever I am feeling down to remind myself who the fight is for. It is just not right that these little ones should be subject to such cruel torture and misery and then have it all covered up.

            I am not haradi, but when walking throught the areas, the children call out my name, the children come to me and tell me straight out what is going on. THey want to talk, oh my GOd, how they want to talk. they just want someone to listen to them and tell them they are good children and they have to talk out about this and not keep quiet. they want support, they want a older person who does not run screaming into the night because they refuse to acknowledge the painful truth. there are so few of us who belive the children and say so pubically in a atmosphere here of shut up and cover up.

            I cant list all the names and words said about making me out to be this vicious troublemaker and have also been attacked physically. In fact some of the mothers tried to get some perverts thrown out of a bet knesset here and they were physically attacked.

            I am going to keep on sweeping away the filth and dirt so entrenched here in Israel, Jerusalem is supposed to be the place where light shines out to the nations IT IS NOT.IT IS A DISGRACE AND THE CURSED RABBINIM ARE THE PROBLEM, either they cover up to go along or they are doing the dirty themselves.

            I WILL BE DANCING FOR JOY WHEN JERUSALEM STARTS A ROYAL COMMISSION BECAUSE IT SURE AS HELL DONT LOOK LIKE A REALITY AT THIS TIME AND ITS VERY VERY HARD TO DO THIS ALONE.

            • ruth says:

              OTTO,

              one other thing I do, is attend funerals especially of those killed in terror attacks. was at the funeral of the Rabbi and his wife brutally killed in INdia and another rabbi from there too and went into Mea SHearim to hear the rabbi talking about this man. THe old Rabbi looked like he was about to drop dead himself because he was so grief stricken. Everyone was crying.

              I honour all those who die at the hands of the monsters and terrorists. Always. Shmuel in the wheelchair this time came with me to say goodbye to the 4 french men murdered last month

              I have been to funerals where everyone is haradi, or they are converts like the poor girl from south america a few months ago, where everyone is from the shimron , where most people are not religious, you name it been there. Have seen the various sectors of our society crying for their dead. because it has to be done that is really giving honour to those who deserve it.

              by the way when baby Moshe came home from India with his indian nanny, the newspapers here said …. OUR MOSHE .

      • ben gershon says:

        Otto

        “Show me the money”

        for reparation

        for counseling

        ben

        • Otto Waldmann says:

          ben

          restaurant guest: ” I didn’t come here to be insulted !!!”
          Graucho: “That’s what you thought !!”

          and then Graucho repaired to his table, so there.

      • ben gershon says:

        awaiting a statement that merkoos will investigate and sack all those who were delinquent in their “duty of care” with out fear or favor.

        maybe the pork will fly

        ben

    • Everett Benson says:

      Mendel, your comment reminds me of the cliché that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I see no connection between the document above and your comments on it. Rather, it reads to me as if the authors of it are truly and sincerely horrified by the evil sexual abuse of children, whom they rightly regard as precious in themselves and to the entire future of the Jewish community, and even more horrified by the utter failure of the Yeshivah leadership here in Australia adequately to protect those children. Given the strong words that the Merkos authors use, I wonder just what more would have satisfied you. As you may or may not know, it is nearly unprecedented that the Merkos Centre involves itself in local Chabad affairs, especially in such a condemnatory and public way, and they did not need to do it. They could have let the whole thing play out with them as bystanders, for that indeed is what they are — no one accuses them of anything. Nevertheless, they recommend the overhaul of Chabad institutions in Australia to ensure that this does not happen again, and undertake to review structures around the world to make sure that these safeguards apply everywhere. This is the best possible response they can make, it seems to me, and much good will come of it.

      Similarly, the oh-so-righteous comments of “ruth” completely miss their target. She supposes that the Merkos Centre authors of this document were in the court docket and needed the advice of “the lawyers … to get around facing the issues and how to win on cold legal grounds.” Ruth evidently is not even aware that they were not in the court at all, nor on trial. She then seems to go on to “men in power” in general, in any country it appears, and in all. This sort of sloppy and malicious smearing all parties and whole groups with the guilt of the accused is just what is behind too much hate, including for example antisemitic hate directed at all Jews for the sins, whether actual or merely alleged, of some. So I would suggest to ruth that she get off her prancing high horse and get her two feet solidly on real ground.

  4. Allan Rutman says:

    An Additional Line For The Chabad and Lubavich Community

    First they came for the Socialists,and I did not speak out-
    Because I was not a Socialist
    Then they came for the Trade Unionists,and I did not speak out-
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist
    Then they came for the Jews,and I did not speak out-
    Because I was not a Jew
    Then they came for the sexual predators and I did not speak out…………………………….

  5. Mijo says:

    What do they mean by “allegations”?

  6. Schneur Naji says:

    We in Chabad Lubavitch need to force all self appointed organizations, including the Yeshivah schools in Melbourne and Sydney, the Kashruth authorities, the Jewish House in Sydney and the Kesser Torah School and BINA/Nefesh to open their books and elect their boards by open and transparent elections.
    This must include all the Chabad Houses.
    The Yeshiva Centre in Sydney needs to be closed and reopened under a totally different management.

    • Helen Dawson says:

      Agree that it is necessary to separate School Boards from Religious Organisations, even if they are on the same grounds.
      Every School needs parents on the committee of management so that they can represent the voices of the children.
      The funds from governments for schools are an irresistible lure for greedy and controlling individuals who can then use the cashflow to dominate their communities.
      Ireland reformed their local primary schools, as they had been 95% run by priests and made them community run after their Royal Commission.
      There needs to be financial accountability and transparency for Religious Institutions.
      Thank you for recognising the good work of the Austalian victims and the Royal Commission Into Child Sex Abuse.

    • Avigael Cassel says:

      Add Beth Dins to this list. The performance has been appalling, with zero oversight and accountability. We dont know even know yet how long the ‘victim’ list is. This is the first port of call to find out how big this problem is and how long it has gone on for. From community comment that has not been muzzled, since their inception.

      • Schneur Naji says:

        Neither the Beth Din of Sydney or Melbourne have Dayanim elected by Orthodox representative bodies.
        Many Orthodox Synagogue have boards which are not Shomer Shabbat which is a problem in this scenario.

        • Avigael Cassel says:

          Bottom line is, if these cannot be run properly then they have to be shut down. When its all said and done, the excuses are just that – excuses. Baruch HaShem that process has started from both the Israeli and Australian end.

  7. Avigael Cassel says:

    Now its also time to deal with all the Chabad cases of Child Abuse that do not involve sexual child abuse that could not make it into the Royal Commission. Many more chabad rabbis have yet to step down over this abuse as well as the destruction of entire families that the chabad network has destroyed. This Royal Commission is only the tip of the iceburg to a group of communities leaders who have criminally acted while disguising themselves as rabbis of Judaism. They are not. They are rabbis of destruction and all must be removed from their posts.

    • Schneur Naji says:

      as a Chabadnik I agree with Avigael, many of our rabbis need to resign immediately.
      They are a Chilul HaShem.

    • Schneur Naji says:

      Avigael, there are victims of child sexual abuse from every community, it is not only a Chabad issue.
      If one digs deeply enough you will find scandals which have been buried by all the day schools over the last 50-60 years.

  8. Schneur Naji says:

    The Merkoz leadership is self appointed, responsible to no one.
    There words are platitudes, they should disband, open free and fair elections should take place.
    Their statement about Australia is driven by self promotion to avoid problems with fund raising.
    They have know about the corruption for years, where were they until now.

  9. ruth says:

    WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE FOOLING.. THIS DAMAGE CONTROL IS NOT WORKING. WE DONT BELIEVE YOU. YOU ARE ALL LIARS.

  10. Tania Hammer says:

    There is so much to say on this piece. Firstly, had Merkos been involved with the Yeshiva institutions in any form, these atrocities might have been prevented. Rabbis G and F have been in Australia running the Yeshivas since the ’60’s. Thats 50+ years of absence. Where were you Merkoz when these kids needed you most? Had Merkoz been involved in the Sydney Yeshiva, they might have prevented the catastrophic downfall of the shaliach and his family. Indeed, where was any top shalich player in any of this institution’s downfall, education and other?
    It is never too late to apologize and indeed, we learn from the past to make a brighter future. I hope Merkoz looks at EVERY SINGLE SHALIACH’s educational institution, whether they are enrolled in Merkoz or not-however that works. It is clear that the top brass needed the help, and the kids were accidents in the crossfires of mismanagement.
    Blessings to all Yeshivas under your wing moving forward.

    • Schneur Naji says:

      Merkoz have know about the utter corruption at the Yeshiva in Sydney for decades.
      They have just made a statement to try and cover themselves and limit the PR disaster
      The truth behind the financial affairs swirls around in a storm of gossip, the truth be told it is worse that people imagine.
      Tens of millions are owed to community member, banks, financiers and loan sharks.
      Criminal activity writ large by a few who have blackened the reputation of a movement.

    • nerrida blashki pohl says:

      Some pedophiles were removed to teach in other countries. Who is responsible for keeping them employed and with access to more innocent children? The problem is not just in boy’s schools.

  11. peter rose says:

    I urge all organisations who have criticised certain alarming evidence of some rabbis, immediately place an advertisement in the daily press making their position known to the general public. Statements only in the Jewish media are clearly insufficient. Action , not just words, are needed now.

  12. Larry Stilllman says:

    Some strategic buck-passing among a close knit network at the top strongly linked by familial ties to what goes on in this country.

    It is beyond belief that 770 was not aware of a problem. Thus, as a cover for this, notice that in the statement, nothing is said about institutional problems outside schools or the behaviour and viewpoints of Chabad rabbis in Australia.

    And, “the unfortunate incidents alleged to have occurred in Australia may have well been avoided if the institutions in question would have adhered to the Child Safety Code guidelines of the Merkos Educational Office”. 1) Incidents alleged to have occurred? 2) the Child Safety Code didn’t come into being until 2002, yet the culture of coverup was institutionalized before then.

    I leave it to others much closer to the ballgame to write up the best seller. It is all about closed groups.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Closed groups, you said, equidistant, objective Larry!! Would it be the kinda “closed groups” academics do NOT have, legal fraternities neither, not to mention medical, political parties/gintae or G-d forbid cuneiform experts vs. 18 Century intellectual historians and, finally warfies !!!
      At a first glance, Chabad is a fairly lose fraternity in many respects with a very generous extention of localised autonomy cum latitude. This is based on the fair reality that, generally speaking, the training of its local leaders is seriously relied upon. If we look at the current and local issues, in which a few individual Rabbis have been castigated, reputations ruined based on some idiosyncratic details, a few utterings non-definable of their core profile, a careful and sincerely fair analyst would realise that the overwhelming evidence of decades of behaviour of the same in the service of the same communities, have been marked by some of the best, most laudable performances. The problems evinced at the Commission can be regarded as zealous observance and NOT moral intentional failures, G-d forbid, wilful abandonment of their spiritual vocation. THIS IS PRECISELY THE REASON WHY CHABAD HQ FINDS IT NECESSARY IN THEIR PRESENT STATEMENT NOT TO DWELL AT ALL ON SPECIFICS, NAMES EXCLUDED, OF OUR LOCAL CONCERNS.

  13. david singer says:

    A reassuring statement.

    Can we expect another concerning the future of those who contributed to this shameful state of affairs?

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