Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: a modern orthodox rabbi’s point of view

February 25, 2015 by J-Wire Staff
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Rabbi Yossi Friedman is a modern orthodox rabbi, currently spiritual leader of Sydney’s Cremorne Synagogue.

He writes on the outcome of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s investigation of the Sydney Yeshiva and Melbourne Yeshivah.

“The Australian Jewish community has been rocked over the past few weeks.

I firstly wish to apologise that while our community was experiencing the pain and humiliation that came out of the Royal Commission into Sexual Abuse, my wife, Chana Raizel Friedman and I were overseas. 

I wish, now, to clarify where we stand. 

Rabbi Yossi Friedmsn

Rabbi Yossi Friedmsn

There must be no tolerance for sexual abuse anywhere in our community. Those who have perpetrated sexual crimes, especially against children, must be brought to the full extent of justice no matter the distance of time. Anyone who is privy to any information of this sort must come forward and report it to the relevant authorities. There is to be no cover-up or ‘making light’ of any report that comes forth. Ignorance or playing ignorant is not an excuse. Those leaders from among us who have come forth and shamed our community must pay the price for their words and actions. They have lost any ounce of authority and credibility that they may have had.

So what going forward? 

Now is a time for taking responsibility and a time for healing. As I see it, these are some steps that need to be taken:

1. Any communal leaders implicated by the Commission must resign/be removed from positions of authority and leadership.

2. Leaders and Rabbis who occupy positions where they will make contact with children must satisfy regular safety checks and strict screening processes to be implemented by their organisation. 

3. Specific workshops dealing with sexual abuse should be established to raise awareness and training among the general community as well as in schools.

4. Specific courses to be arranged for our leaders providing them with the appropriate training and practical application in dealing with sexual assault, abuse and trauma. 

On a personal note, Chana and I wish to acknowledge that the Jewish community’s pain is our pain. As one, we need to heal and we, personally, will take appropriate steps within our community, and whichever community we are a part of, to keep people safe. Our door is always open to anyone who is in need of help. 

And to the victims who experience deep and enduring suffering, we pray that you and your families find healing and comfort. You have suffered in silence for too long.”


6 Responses to “Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: a modern orthodox rabbi’s point of view”
  1. Rafi Plotkin says:

    Let us remember the wise old Yiddish proverb :

    Ten Shoemakers make a Minyan

    Nine rabbonim do not

    ie rabonnim are flesh and blood like all of us with good and bad neshomas

  2. Avigael Cassel says:

    So lets see you put some action behind your words. If you are serious, you are yet to remove senior chabad people that still occupy positions of authority and even have the hootspa to be publishing anti child abuse statements when they are responsible themselves for abuse of children, not necessarily sexual. I will believe you when you have ACTED. Talk has all that the community has done for years while the abominations continue. All must be removed from leadership and public positions of any description.

  3. Otto Waldmann says:

    While this Rabbi and his wife were overseas, must have been at least Bourkina Fasso where I presume there are no internet connections, ALL those fellow Rabbis, noch an oyhere good Yid wants removed, resign etc. have stated at the same Commission their full commitment to what this peripathetic Rabbi is making big hay of, G-d forbid HIS job should be jeopardised.

  4. rabbi freedmanson says:

    This is a disgrace.
    They were overseas, therefore he couldn’t comment?
    Such rubbish!!
    There is internet world-wide.
    He knew what was going on, just couldn’t be bothered commenting until now.

  5. Sam Goldsteen says:

    He is a Chabad Rabbi.

    Is he playing the political move to pretend he is not a Chabad Rabbi ?

    What a shame!

    we respect you for who you are.

  6. Schneur Naji says:

    Rabbi Yossi Friedman is both and Chabad Rabbi and a modern person, he serves a Modern Orthodox community in a marvelous manner.

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