Royal Commission report “shaking us to the core”

December 18, 2017 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Rabbinical Council of Australia and New Zealand has stated the entire rabbinate should share the responsibility for the Jewish involvement in the Royal Commission into Institutional responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Council has issued the following statement:

“The Royal Commission has now completed its work. The findings in general, and in particular the findings in relation to the failures of the rabbinic leadership of Yeshiva Sydney and Melbourne, must shake us to the core.

The Rabbinate as a whole must share responsibility in its failure to have properly educated itself and the community as to the true Torah values that do not allow mesira or any similar concept to be used to protect perpetrators and allow children to be left in harm’s way. We must recognise the great Chilul Hashem [desecration of the name of God] that was caused because we were not the light unto the nations that we should have been, but rather we contributed to the darkness. We can make no excuses and any apology we may make at this time must not be mere platitude.

We must truly absorb the horror, that the Royal Commission has found, that instead of being  protectors of the weak and innocent, Rabbis were directly responsible for the sexual abuse that occurred to children. There can be no greater shame, and no greater admonition to all of us, than that failure.

We must be grateful for and applaud the victims who had the extraordinary courage to stand up and be counted whether they were named or were represented anonymously. Reading their testimony breaks our heart. Make no mistake. The shunning still occurs. They still suffer not just for the abuse but at the hands of those who would blame them for exposing the community to criticism. We have all heard it, even now, and even amongst some within the leadership of the community. We as a Rabbinate say loudly and clearly: Those who spoke up are heroes who reflect the highest biblical ideals of the pursuit of Justice. We call on all members of the community finally to acknowledge and recognise all those who spoke out, as the true heroes they are and to give them and their families the respect they truly deserve.

Chanukah teaches us that a little light dispels a great deal of darkness. The light that the Royal Commission has shone on the darkness within our community must be the kindling for a great fire. We of the RCANZ have resolved to do everything we can so that the light we generate dispels once and for all, the darkness that is the abuse of children and the abuse of survivors.”

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