Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: The Masorti viewpoint

February 27, 2015 by J-Wire Staff
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The rabbis of the Masorti Beit Din have observed, with sadness and disappointment, the proceedings over the past month of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

We are deeply concerned about the testimony given by individual rabbis regarding the treatment of those who experienced abuse as well as their families. We are further concerned that many rabbis who gave evidence showed an ignorance of what constitutes abuse while others showed a failure to act in a timely manner when the abuse first came to light.

Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins

Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins

Several rabbis also showed a lack of knowledge of Australian law, or knew the law but chose to ignore it and thus ignored the halakhic dictum that “the law of the land is the law [Dina de-Malchutcha Dina].”

The Masorti Beit Din celebrates the diversity of religious identification, education and skills found in the Australian rabbinate as well as the rabbis’ involvement in the Jewish community and beyond.

Our community has an expectation of rabbis and, as such, deserves a better quality of public representation than the leadership recently on display.

As the Beit Din reflects on the victims of the abuse, we are reminded of the saying from Pirkei Avot: “Our Rabbis taught: …The sword comes into the world, because of justice delayed and justice denied…”, [Avot 5:7]

The Masorti congregations in Australia [and their rabbis] are:

Kehillat Nitzan, Melbourne [Adam Stein, Rabbi]

Masorti@Emanuel, Emanuel Synagogue, Sydney [Jeffrey Kamins, Senior Rabbi]

Beit Din [Jeffrey Cohen, Rabbi]