In a world of their own

February 13, 2015 by  
Read on for article

According to Melbourne’s Monash University research, the fully observant or frum community in Victoria accounts for about 15% of the Victorian Jewish community. 

The Yeshivah Centre

The Yeshivah Centre

This includes Adass, Chabad/Lubavitch and observant Modern Orthodox Jews.  Hence, the Chabad community is a very small percentage of the overall Jewish community but it is also the main source of Rabbonim for the mainstream Orthodox Jewish community. This means that it dominates the Rabbinic Council of Victoria, which is the peak body for the Orthodox Rabbinate.

The Yeshivah Centre is the leadership centre for the Lubavitch community whose key institutions includes various community institutions, most notably Chabad and Yeshivah Synagogues, Chabad Youth and Yeshivah Beth Rivkah College.
None of the Yeshivah or Chabad organisations are members of the mainstream Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) and tend to operate separately to the rest of the community, which includes Modern Orthodox, Conservative or Masorti, Progressive Judaism and secular Jews.
The vast majority of Jews in Victoria identify as Orthodox because of tradition or family connection to an Orthodox Synagogue.  Nevertheless, most of these Orthodox Jews are not particularly observant, and would find their views on social and communal issues far closer to the views of the general Victorian community rather than anything espoused by the Chabad leadership.
The issues surrounding child sexual abuse have split the community, where some in the Chabad community have views seriously in conflict with mainstream Jewry. The vast majority of the Jewish community supports the victims and puts protection of children and working with police and other secular authorities as top priority.  And yes, there are many in the Chabad community, including some Rabbonim who are very distressed and outraged by the actions or sometimes inaction of the Yeshivah Centre and some of the Chabad Rabbinic ‘leaders’.
An important step will be taken in the next few weeks as Rabbonim and staff from Yeshivah Beth Rivkah College participate in the JCCV’s child protection policy and procedures training program.  A few short years ago, the Chabad community would not talk about child sexual abuse but the Royal Commission has put the spotlight on the issue and Yeshivah Centre’s poor response to victims and incidents.  Let’s hope that the pain of this two-week long opening of wounds results in positive change in the Yeshivah world and a new culture where the children and victims come first.
Working closer with mainstream Jewry would help.
From a Melbourne contributor


2 Responses to “In a world of their own”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    I would have laughed at this, most incongruous report, its comments if it were not w tragic in its totally unacceptable level of farcical “assessments”.
    The use of, indeed wrongly accepted terms in the pedestrian vernacular, such as “mainstream Jewish community “, “religious observance” etc. is only complemented by the most unacceptable , most absurd statements such as ” Most of (sic) Orthodox Jews are not particularly observant.’ Such nominal, qualitative assertions are of the most unacceptable kind in professional sociological assessments. These qualitative notions cannot be ranked !!! Just the simple use of pleonasms in a conflicting form is unacceptable. Who wrote this stuff !!
    Then we have the biggest absurdity of them all: ” The vast majority of the Jewish community supports the victims…” DOES IT MEAN THAT THE ‘RESEARCHER’ HAS IDENTIFY EVEN A “MINORITY” IN THE JEWISH COMMUNITY WHICH STATED CLEARLY THAT IT DOES NOT SUPPORT THE VICTIMS !!!! Anyway, how was “the vast majority” determined, a comparable interval in assessing a group !!!
    We also have an assessment of “conflict” between ordinal categories such as “mainstream” and determined distinct groups of the SAME identity, Jewish, which, based on the displayed absurdities are not…”mainstream” whatever that means !!!

    I blame all this on the bloody dishwasher !!!!

  2. Lizzie Moore says:

    Excellent summary, todah…

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