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August 22, 2012

Chabad's Non-Apology 'Apology' For Sexual Abuse

Yeshivah College (Chabad) Melbourne AustraliaChabad in Melbourne, Australia has issued a letter about child sexual abuse and child safety in its Yeshiva Centre. It doesn't actually apologize for the sexual abuse and coverups that have plagued it for decades. It doesn't even admit that its handling of allegations was incorrect. Instead, it tells its members that it can't legally comment on the current cases in criminal court, and then goes on to assure members that whatever took place in the past, children are safe now. But is this true?

 

No, I don't think it is.

Chabad leaders have been hostile to the police investigation and hostile to the family of the only named victim. They did not apologize for that bad behavior or apologize to the victim's family for what it did to them.

The letter, which you can read below, reads much more like a lawyer-drafted piece of propaganda than it does like a heartfelt apology.

The idea that Chabad cannot say it is sorry for mishandling past abuse allegations because the trial of David Cyprys is ongoing and David Kramer's extradition is in progress  is rubbish.

Using that flawed logic, Chabad would have years to go before it could say it is sorry for the pain it caused little children and their families, and for the lives it destroyed.

But the truth is that Chabad can apologize any time it wants to, and it can admit its own guilt any time it wants to.

But it won't do either because doing it might cost them money, and doing it might mean that at least two men who allegedly raped and sexually abused kids (each man has prior convictions for child sexual abuse related crimes and multiple complaining witnesses now) will likely be found guilty.

Chabad is trying to keep both these men – especially Cyprys – out of prison. And that means admitting its role in covering up their alleged crimes is something Chabad will not do.

And, therefore, Chabad will not truly apologize for what it did.

But it is under intense pressure from funders and from some members to apologize, clean up its act, and fire the most flagrant of the rabbis who covered up.

Chabad's answer to that pressure is this non-apology apology, written so that someone wanting to see an apology might read one in where one really does not exist, and while any court of law would immediately see the letter for what it is – and for what it is does not include – an admission of guilt or an apology.

Manny Waks, the lead alleged victim in the Cyprys case, writes:

Speaking to many people about Yeshivah’s letter (including to some of the past victims), it’s been interesting to hear the different perspectives. I wanted to emphasise that while this is an important milestone, it is only a first step.

The reality is that Yeshivah has:

·         not apologised for their despicable behaviour over the past year

·         stated that only ‘IF mistakes were made’

·         misrepresented the police views regarding their cooperation (in court the police made it clear that they were not fully cooperating)

·         Etc. etc.

As to what caused this dramatic change of heart, my guess is that it includes some or all of the following:

·         They have had enough of the ongoing pressure by many within the Yeshivah community (including parents of students in their school)

·         Pressure from donors

·         Student enrolments

·         My pressure

·         Rosh Hashanah is fast approaching—they want to be inscribed for a good year

·         Legal/insurance advice

However, they have finally apologised. This is an important first step. The belated statement that ‘We understand and appreciate that there are victims who feel aggrieved and we sincerely and unreservedly apologise for any historical wrongs that may have occurred’ is an important one.

It doesn’t end with this apology.

But it isn't an apology, Manny. Read it again. It says, "…we sincerely and unreservedly apologise for any historical wrongs that MAY have occurred." It does not say "DID occur," and by using the term "historical" it is referring to the distant past, not what was done last month to your father and not its lies to police.

Chabad is still covering up. It is still mistreating victims, and it will continue to do so until it fully admits the truth and truly apologizes for it, or until its rabbis are sitting in Australian prisons.

Are kids in Chabad's Yeshiva College and Yeshiva Centre safe?

No, they are not.

And they won't be until Chabad does real teshuva.

Update 1:52 am CDT 8-23-2012 – It turns out that Chabad did not apologize to or send this letter to Manny Waks' father, who has been mercilessly harassed by Chabad since Manny went public. Read Zephania Waks' response to Chabad's omission here.

Yeshiva College Letter 8-2012 1

Yeshiva College Letter 8-2012 1

Yeshiva College Letter 8-2012 2,jpg
Yeshiva College Letter 8-2012 3
Here is the letter as a PDF file:

Download Chabad Yeshiva Centre Letter

BTW, the Victoria, Australia state parliament has just extended the deadline for submissions for its inquiry into the handling of child sexual abuse allegations by religious organizations (the Catholic Church, Chabad, etc.) and NGOs, so those victims thinking of testifying still have time to file your submission:

Victoria Parliament extend deadline for child sex abuse inquiry

Comments

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Does Australia have anything like The US's RICO statute?

Not yet we don't have RICO but it was in this mornings Herald Sun that the Victorian Gov is set to this year introduce legislation which is much the same thing....Reason they doing this is so they can go after bikie gangs, street gangs and underworld criminals....

If Rabbi Glick is still the head of Student Welfare, as he was when the committal was taking place and he was called a liar by a Victorian magistrate, then we still have reason to be concerned. Yeshiva ought to purge itself of the dangerous leadership which allowed those disgusting offences against young, vulnerable children to occur. To the Melbourne parents out there, vote with your feet.

then goes on to assure members that whatever took place in the past, children safe now. But is this true?

Yes.

Chabad in Melbourne, Australia has issued a letter about child sexual abuse and child safety in its Yeshiva Centre.

Never ever let a good deed go unpunished!

Never ever let a good deed go unpunished!

Posted by: Nathan | August 22, 2012 at 06:03 AM

What in what passes for your mind makes this a "good deed"?

It does not meet the definition of teshuva – it doesn't even come close.

And it does not admit the truth.

After decades of child rape enabled by Rabbi Groner and his administration, and the current misbehavior of yeshiva leaders, why is a namby pamby letter devoid of truth a "good deed"?

Can your tiny, little insufficient mind answer that question in conformity to the halakha you claim to follow?

Of course not.

The first sentence is a poorly crafted admission. You can't eradicate what is not there but they push the bad acts into the "community " at arms length and away from themselves.

What is the evidentiary law in Australia regarding the admissability of after the fact curative remedies? Can it be considered as going to liability or guilt?

What in what passes for your mind makes this a "good deed"?

Reassuring its members that their children will be safe - that is a good deed that must be punished!

"What in what passes for your mind makes this a "good deed"?"

Reassuring its members that their children will be safe - that is a good deed that must be punished!

Posted by: Nathan | August 22, 2012 at 06:49 AM

I see Chabad is still churning out idiots.

Process, little man.

Without full teshuva – including publicly admitting what it did wrong and public apologies to each victim, to victims' families and to everyone put at risk by Chabad's misbehavior – there is no halakhic way to trust Chabad's "reassurance."

Now toddle off, troll.

While the letter avoids making any specific admissions, or anything close, I agree with Manny that it's an important step. Not because it's an apology (it isn't) but because it attempts to show concern for the crime of child abuse and rightly says the community must support victims and refer allegations to the police.
Now, whether words turn to actions when incidents arise, and whether referral to the police really means "after the rabbi has reviewed..." remains to be seen. But absent Manny's pressure, no statement like this would ever have been made.
Have they changed leadership? Firing people who failed to act in the past would be a sign they are sincere.

Have they changed leadership? Firing people who failed to act in the past would be a sign they are sincere.

Posted by: Eli, what me messiah? | August 22, 2012 at 07:12 AM

No, they have not changed leadership.

And despite what the letter says, they have harassed people who cooperated with police and failed to cooperate themselves when interviewed by police.

Thanks Shmarya for seeing thru their nonsense. Keep up the pressure. As you say, “they have harassed people who cooperated with police and failed to cooperate themselves when interviewed by police”, and that hasn’t changed. There is a list of reasons which may have led them to write the letter, but none of them have anything to do with a genuine apology or teshuva. When I hear that victims and their families feel it's a real apology, by actions on the ground, I'll change my mind. Till then, just more Yeshiva BS.

Yeah, I've read the coverage of their awful treatment of Manny and his family, which is why I asked.
Look, real change doesn't happen overnight. I'm hardly a fan of Chabad, but there's a lot of sense in this letter, despite its shortcomings.
What they need to do is show zero tolerance for anyone who failed to protect children or who helped cover up abuse. There need to be consequences, not just words responding to public scandal.

Process, little man.

Without full teshuva – including publicly admitting what it did wrong and public apologies to each victim, to victims' families and to everyone put at risk by Chabad's misbehavior – there is no halakhic way to trust Chabad's "reassurance."

Now toddle off, troll.

Posted by: Shmarya | August 22, 2012 at 06:54 AM

Your largeness,

When it comes to Haredim or Chabad always see the glass as half empty, they can do no good and all they do must be scrutinized to find something wrong. Never, ever acknowledge the positive.

Posted by: Jake | August 22, 2012 at 08:33 AM

Idiot.

Halakha is very clear – without all the steps of teshuva being completed, there is NO teshuva.

And all you credit for in this regard is teshuva.

Halakha is very clear – without all the steps of teshuva being completed, there is NO teshuva.........

Shmarya - apparently YOU don't undrestand Chabad teshuva...... Fun story from last year. Local Chabad rabbi promises to show up at a nursing home and blow the shofar for the Jewish residence (in fact, he OFFERED) - nursing home rounds everyone up at the appointed day and time, but he doesn't show. When asked about it later he tells he woman (member of our shul) that he'd be happy to apologize, but only if she'll forgo Holiday services at the synagogue and attend his instead........

Another funny story - Chabad rabbi tries to visit my dying father in law, family very politely asks him not to as they have never met, are very reform AND already have 2 rabbis in the room. Chabad rabbi responds to the family that their attitude is what caused the destruction of the 2nd Temple (they all have alibis, by the way) yet he feels that I owe HIM an apology because I was "direct" in my comments to him in the immediate aftermath.

Chabad teshuvah is either conditional, or owed to them. It seems that there are no other forms.

Posted by: rebitzman | August 22, 2012 at 08:54 AM

Chabad loves to tell people "A Jew is a Jew is a Jew", but my observation has been that only pertains as long as the liberal Jew is prepared to come hat in hand, in a posture of supplication, asking to be made more like them. As soon as the frei yid expects to be met as an equal, all of a sudden, a Jew isn't quite a Jew.

Jeff, you forgot to mention that they (we) are supposed to bring our wallets, too. "Money is money is money."

You're right. One has to pay for the privilege of being treated as a second-class citizen.

Jeff--
"A Jew is a Jew is a Jew" is certainly true.

To continue the discussion about "the MHM license plate...

Eli--
Do you say that "Gedolim cards are for the same purpose, worship?
Btw, Misnagdim after they made a machaw like yours came out with those baseball style cards for children anyway.
Like anything else where Lubavitiruvch was the pioneer they mocked us, then imitated us, and in the end said they themselves invented it. Ever heard of the so called 'Kiruv Movement?

More on the Rebbe's picture in one's home:
In Talmud Yerushalmi there is a discussion of the verse:

Surely each man should conduct himself in [His] likeness.

(Tehillim 39:7)

The Gemara goes on to explain that:

You should see (or picture) the author of the dictum as if he were standing before you." (Shabbos 1:2)

The commentaries explain that the essence of study is when you can see the face of your teacher, as it is written: "Your eyes shall see your teacher" (Yeshayahu 30:20).

Thus the "likeness" referred to in the verse in Tehillim is the likeness of the teacher.

Consequently, when one sees the image of the Nassi of our generation in front of him, then all difficulties and obstacles are completely nullified and the mission of the teacher will be fulfilled with joy and glad hearts.

Those who were lucky to have seen the Previous Rebbe in his lifetime can certainly conjure and project in their minds a vision and vivid "likeness" of his holy face. Even those who did not actually merit to see him in life can create the same inspiring mental picture by studying a clear and detailed photograph.

The power of the mind is truly great, and a person can recall many mental images of the past. If one has the determination and will, he can certainly conjure up in his mind a subject as important as the face of his Rebbe, and it can be so vivid and alive as if he were standing before him and actually facing him.

When the work of spreading the wellsprings is based not on hearing alone, but, rather, on seeing the countenance of the sender, then the effectiveness is infinitely greater.

Should you ask the obvious question -- that vision only works when there is light, and since we are in the diaspora, we are in an epoch of prolonged darkness, and we do not see G-d's wonders, -- will we see the face of the one who placed our mission before us?!

In the sicha spoken for the children this past week the phenomenon of the setting of the great luminaries in the sky on the fourth day of creation was discussed. The purpose of the great lights, which, albeit do orbit through the sky, is to illuminate the earth -- and even in the darkness of the night there is the light of smaller light, to shed some light in the darkness. So, too, even in the darkness of the golus if you strain you will see.

http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/sichos-in-english/32/09.htm

Posted by: mendel | August 15, 2012 at 09:01 AM

Yes, Jeff. And those second-class seats are for men only.

mendel, what do you do with your time, other than play with yourself?

Jk2

Your question has a damned if you do damned if you don't respond aspect to it.
When did you stop beating your wife--assuming you ever had one, or will have one that is.

Those who were lucky to have seen the Previous Rebbe in his lifetime can certainly conjure and project in their minds a vision and vivid "likeness" of his holy face. Even those who did not actually merit to see him in life can create the same inspiring mental picture by studying a clear and detailed photograph.

I've heard Tibetan Buddhists say the same of their teachers - even down to the use of the term "merit" - yet Mendel would dismiss them as practitioners of avodah zorah.

This is a Claytons apology.That is an apology where you don't apologise.See Page #1 four lines from the bottom....."apologise for any historical wrongs that MAY have occurred" EXCUSE ME.Cyprys pleaded guilty to molestation in 1992.That is a matter of record,a matter of fact.None of this nonsense please of ......."may have occurred" because it DID occur.
There is no apology here for the despicable behaviour of the management & Rabbinate since this scandal broke over a year ago.The victims,the families of victims & supporters of these victims have been abused & sledged from the pulpit & other places.I do not hold Telsner to account for what happened before he arrived here.Telsner needs to apologise for his behaviour since this scandal broke.He needs to apologise for sledging & besmirching victims & their supporters.The teachings espoused by the Yeshivah include "everything is from Hashem & everything from Hashem is for good". Well they do not behave as though they believe the words they preach.They should believe that their "opponents" are merely agents of Hashem.To not believe so is to deny Hashems hand in all this=Avoda Zara.On Yom Kippur we do not say "Sorry Hashem for any wrongs I MAY have done".The process of forgiveness requires the sinner to articulate verbally & exactly what sin he did commit.This is part & parcel of the process that achieves forgiveness & it has a profound affect on the sinner.Yom Kippur will atone for nothing from Hashem for the wrongs between man & his fellow man until those wrongs have been forgiven by the victim/s.

Didn't the Los Angeles Chabad respond admirably and responsibly to a sexual abuse crisis in their schools a few years ago? If my recollections are correct, perhaps it's wrong to generalize "Chabad" in general as tolerant of sexual abuse. Can someone fill me in more fully on the California episode and Chabad's response there?

Jeff--
similar does not equal identical.
That is why we say lehavdil.
We have the Torah as our source for our customs; they don't.
Don't you see the difference?
They are ovdei avoda zarah; we are ovdei Hashem.

Yes, of course the letter is drafted by legal personnel; that is to be expected of an organisation.

But, the legal personnel follow the directions of the client.

In this case, the client wants to be Teflon coated.

Methinks that this organisation is more about ensuring jobs for the local (considered) royal families than anything else.

Mendel dear,
By definition, Avodah Zarah (Strange Worship), is considered to be defined as anything other than standard Jewish worship.

Hence your argument is vacuous and vapid.

Lehavdil (To make a difference) means that they are doing similar to us, or vice versa, but hey, they don’t have the Torah, so it is in an entirely different thing. For example: “they” may pray to god, but lehavdil it is completely unlike us praying to god, only our prayers are valid.

I personally abhor this elitist attitude.

We have the Torah as our source for our customs; they don't.
Don't you see the difference?
They are ovdei avoda zarah; we are ovdei Hashem.

[Facepalm]

: Ex-Charedi--

No wonder you chose such a nickname; you labor under such huge misconceptions and delusions who could blame you.
1)According to the Torah, Avoda Zarah can best be defined as the deification of any created thing, be it an object, concept, philosophy, or individual. The object of deification, therefore, becomes the focal point of one’s life. By focusing on the falsely deified thing, one thus loses focus of the True source of all – HaShem.
2)As far as the elitism which you abhor in Judaism, your complaint is with G-d not us Jews his faithful servants.
Don't blame us, blame Hashem:
The purpose of the Jewish people is to give spiritual direction to the world through our example. God says in the Torah, "I've chosen you to be a holy nation and a nation of priests."
In other words,we are and have to be an elite class of people as it is defined by our mission.

Mendel,
Christians also believe that Christians are an elite class of people as do Muslims. What makes Judaism the "true religion" and Jews an "elite class" over Christianity and Islam? Their claims to godliness are at least as legitimate as those of Judaism. Your diatribe in the message above is as naive and as deluded as the beliefs of the young men in the Islamic madrassas....

Most participants in a war on both sides of the conflict believe that god is on THEIR side.

And fundamentalists of each religion think that THEIRS is the one true religion.

It's all hocum.

Been there--
In Judaism(lehadil) unlke other religions we Jews
strive not to have G-d be on our side; we strive to be on His side-- and to that extent, we pray that he will be on our side.
For us it is not hocum; we are living proof of it. You xan take it to the bank.

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