Yeshivah plans for the future with “stronger governance”

June 17, 2015 by J-Wire Staff
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Melbourne’s Yeshivah Centre Board of Trustees has sent an open letter stating that they have implemented “stronger governance and renewed capability – to enable our schools and community to continue to thrive.”.

The letter begins: “We write regarding Governance of the Yeshivah Centre, including Yeshivah and Beth Rivkah Colleges.

The Members of the Associations (The Trustees) have met this week to implement a transition for stronger governance and renewed capability. All agree that we must implement the changes with vigour and immediacy to enable our schools and community to continue to thrive.

An interim new Committee of Management is being appointed until such time as a new constitution is drawn up and adopted. This body will be comprised of individuals with recognized and proven skills set and experience, from our community and beyond. They will support the Principal in his role, as well as supporting the other leadership staff of the organisation, as we go through this transition.

The interim Committee will be held to strict timeframes and will only hold office until the Annual General Meeting which must be held no later than 31 December 2015, at which time it is expected that a new constitution and set of Rules will be adopted.

Alongside this interim Committee of Management, a Constitutional Review Committee will be formed comprising a group of professionally qualified, legal and governance experts, together with a Rabbinic advisor from our community. Their mandate will be to recommend a new governance structure and set of Rules for the Association which meet the requirements for good governance and conform to the VRQA governance charter. It is expected that the new rules will be adopted by the Members of the Association at the AGM which will be held later this year.

We look forward to communicating with you as each of these changes take place, and will advise you the names and curriculum vitae of the individuals involved in each of these stages of our governance transition.

Manny Waks who was a victim of child sexual abuse and who spearheaded a campaign for openness which culminated in members of the orthodoxy affiliated to the Yeshiva Centre appearing before the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse said:

“Today’s public statement by Melbourne’s Yeshivah Centre is a welcome development – in particular, the belated (and reluctant) resignation of the entire Yeshivah Centre Committee of Management.

It has been a frustrating and disappointing period since the Royal Commission public hearing into the Yeshiva Centre – there have been some positive developments, although very slowly and in some cases seemingly imposed by external parties like myself and others.

Now that the Committee of Management has finally resigned, it’s well overdue for Yeshivah’s Rabbi Telsner to also resign or be stood down. As those ultimately responsible for the leadership at the Yeshivah Centre, it is crucial that the entire Board of Trustees also resigns.

There needs to be a new and transparent governance structure at Yeshivah – one that is in no way implicated with the child sexual abuse scandal that has tarnished this important communal institution. Also, the new leadership cannot be in a real or perceived conflict of interest – ideally, some in this new leadership group should be from outside the Chabad Yeshivah community.

The current Board of Trustees must accept that it no longer has the legitimacy to lead. Therefore, their ongoing involvement will merely continue to undermine any positive changes that are being made. An interim leadership board should be installed immediately.

It is worth noting the recent letter that was disseminated by the newly established Parents & Friends of Yeshivah Melbourne highlighting some of the ongoing concerns: ‘We are concerned that at this point in time, the process of appointment for positions on a new board may be being compromised by conflicts of interest. This may preclude the best outcomes for our community.’

The Yeshivah Centre needs to send out a clear and unequivocal message: that they are taking these issues seriously and addressing them appropriately. Only then will they regain the trust, respect and support of the community. Once this happens, the victims/survivors, the Yeshivah community and indeed the broader community will be able to move forward in a positive and constructive manner.”

 

Comments

One Response to “Yeshivah plans for the future with “stronger governance””
  1. ben gershon says:

    untill we see the names of the new leadership .it is hogwash

    ben

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