"…We regret, therefore, that we find ourselves in a position where the good name of the [Chabad Yeshivah] Centre is under threat and confidence has been diminished. We wish it were otherwise. We want to reassure everyone that we are committed to making the Centre and our school better, stronger, and more transparent.…"
Dear [ ],
The role of the Yeshivah Centre Committee of Management is to ensure the Centre has continued success in the future. Like the whole community, we are totally committed to the unique ethos of the school.
We regret, therefore, that we find ourselves in a position where the good name of the Centre is under threat and confidence has been diminished. We wish it were otherwise. We want to reassure everyone that we are committed to making the Centre and our school better, stronger, and more transparent.
To do so, we are undertaking a number of substantive initiatives that we believe will create the right frameworks to take the Centre and our school forward.
We are weeks away from launching a scheme to respond to the needs of victims of child abuse. An independent and preeminent committee is being established to develop and implement a scheme based on the principles of existing models operating in other organisations.
We will commence a consultation with parents and others in the community in the coming weeks on the operations and performance of the school. The feedback will be gathered through one-on-one interviews, email and small group sessions.
We will shortly commence an independent review of the governance arrangements of the Centre including the transparency of the Committee. The review will assess existing best practice models of education governance that underpin great schools. It will make recommendations on how these might operate and apply in our context.
We will undertake a process to renew the Committee's composition in the light of this review. This process comes as Mr Chaim New, Mr Yirmi Loebenstein, Mrs Sue Susskind and Mr Don Wolf, the current chair, have chosen to step down from the Committee. We would like to thank them for their many years of voluntary service.
We are approaching the review with an open mind. We want to take from best practice, and seek the best people for a renewed Committee. Mr Merv Adler, Mr Michael Goldhirsch, Mr Chaim Raitman, Mr Shlomo Werdiger and Rabbi Shimshon Yurkowitz are remaining on the Committee during the review and process of renewal to oversee the running of the Centre. Rabbi Yurkowitz will transition off the Committee in the near future. Leah Balter, a parent of the school and vice president of Jewish Care Victoria who has been involved in community consultation around Jewish education funding, is currently assisting the Committee. Reflecting the renewal, we are not appointing a chair at this stage and will do so based on the outcomes of the review.
As we focus on the ongoing operational performance of the school, we are committed to the initiatives above and will communicate regularly on progress. Together these actions provide the basis for continued success.
The Committee of Management
Mr Merv Adler, Mr Michael Goldhirsch, Mr Chaim Raitman, Mr Shlomo Werdiger and Rabbi Shimshon Yurkowitz
Chabad promised it would help victims of child sex abuse who were abused at its Yeshivah Centre, but when approached by a representative of a victim in urgent crisis, Chabad took 12 days to respond, as this email chain shows, and offered no help at all.
It also seems clear that the only real motivating factor for Chabad even now, after its rabbis were shown to be dishonest, uncaring and irresponsible in front of the whole country at the Royal Commission investigating child sex abuse at Chabad institutions, is to protect the "name" of Chabad, as the open letter from the Committee of Management itself says, "we regret, therefore, that we find ourselves in a position where the good name of the [Chabad Yeshivah] Centre is under threat…."
And this all shows that Chabad still doesn't get it, and that public relations and protecting Chabad's "name" is still more important to Chabad than actually doing the good, right and kind thing.
Chabad Yeshivah Centre Melbourne Trustees and Management Committee Members:
Board of Trustees
Mr Binyomin Althaus
Mrs Nechama Bendet
Rabbi Binyomin Cohen
Mr Harry Cooper
Mr Michael Goldhirsch
Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Groner
Mr Samuel Gurewicz
Rabbi Shimshon Jurkowicz
Rabbi Sholom Mendel Kluwgant
Mr Jeremy Lobenstein
Mr Chaim New
Mr Max New
Rabbi Laibel Raskin
Committee of Management
Mr. Don Wolf
Mr Merv Adler
Mr Michael Goldhirsch
Mr Jeremy Loebenstein
Mr Chaim New (still on Board of Trustees)
Mr Chaim Raitman
Mrs Sue Susskind
Mr Shlomo Werdiger