Sexual abuser at Yeshivah? “This could be no further from the truth”

October 11, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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The Principal of Melbourne’s Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah College has responded to claims that a known perpetrator of child sexual abuse is in the College’s employment.

Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler has issued the following statement:

Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler

Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler

“As Principal of Yeshivah College I find it most disturbing that anyone reading the Australian Jewish News or Tzedek website may be led to believe that Yeshivah College currently employs a known perpetrator of child sexual abuse. This could be no further from the truth.

We are in regular contact with the Victoria Police and the relevant authorities. The Police have made it very clear that should they believe that there is cause for concern or that we need to take action in relation to any staff member, they will contact us immediately. The Police have unequivocally confirmed, that at present, there are no concerns about any of our staff whatsoever.

If the Police or any government agency were to make us aware of any staff member being investigated for allegations of child abuse, our school policy is clear and unequivocal; we would unhesitatingly stand them down and remove them from having any access or exposure to our children during the investigation.

We were terribly disappointed that the Australian Jewish News did not have the decency of giving Yeshivah the right of reply prior to publishing an article about an alleged staff member of our College.

It is outrageous and irresponsible for the AJN or the Tzedek advocacy group, who profess to act in the best interests of the community and the children within it, to make broad and sweeping allegations. In doing so, they have cast suspicion on hundreds of innocent educators in circumstances when the police have confirmed there are no concerns. This does nothing to keep children safe.

It is a pity, that instead of acknowledging and encouraging our extensive efforts in child protection, and working together with us to ensure the safety of all our children, that Mr Manny Waks and his Tzedek organisation have instead continued to portray themselves as having a vendetta against orthodox Jewry and in particular the Yeshivah community. It is most disappointing that this vendetta also appears to be supported by the AJN.

Yeshivah, as an organisation today, can only be accused of being overly vigilant in the protection of our children – something for which we are proud.

We conclude by reassuring the community that we are absolutely committed to ensuring the safety of the most vulnerable members of the community – our children. We prioritise child safety, with best practice in relation to staff employment policies and training, and employ effective policies to prevent, and procedures to deal with any issues should they ever arise. We are in the forefront of student and parent education, and collaborate and work closely with the community, the Police and Government and support agencies. Together we keep our children safe.

Once again, we call upon anyone with any information about someone they reasonably believe poses a risk to our children to immediately report their concerns to the Police.”


One Response to “Sexual abuser at Yeshivah? “This could be no further from the truth””
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    It is increasingly disturbing that what Rabbi Smukler has made crystal clear is not being treated fairly, honestly and decently by Tzedek.
    Consistent with Tzedek’s tactics of promoting its own image at the expense and severe compromise of Melbourne Yeshiva and Orthodoxy in general, malicious inferences from rumour and innuendo are creeping within our communal social media. In this travesty of ethics, Tzedek follows a malefic agenda suported by a few vociferous irresponsible individuals, most of them populating with aplomb certain sites which entertain destructive stances against Jewish Orthodoxy.
    One is aghast at the free allowances Galus Australis, for instance, is offering anyone who is willing to defame Melbourne Yeshiva, responses to the contrary on the same site notwithstanding.

    Media senzationalism in matters that have at stake the very essence of Jewish ethics is as irresponsible as the blunt and vicious support for the most vile forms of antisemitism.

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