Chabad’s Yeshivah Centre of Melbourne’s top rabbi, Tzvi Hirsh Telsner, allegedly told a member of the Yeshivah Centre’s synagogue this week that he was wrong to have reported child sex abuse to police without first getting permission from a rabbi. Telsner allegedly did this intentionally in a way that other Chabad members – who had been bullying the victim – could hear.
Above: Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Telsner
Chabad’s Top Australian Rabbi Tells Child Sex Abuse Victim He Was Wrong To Call Police Without Getting Permission From Rabbis
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Chabad’s Yeshivah Centre of Melbourne’s top rabbi, Tzvi Hirsch Telsner, allegedly told a member of the Yeshivah Centre’s synagogue this week that he was wrong to have reported child sex abuse to police without first getting permission from a rabbi, the Australian Jewish News reported.
Telsner functions as Chabad’s chief rabbi in Melbourne, rendering halakhic (Orthodox Jewish law) decisions and leading its massive Yeshivah Centre synagogue.
The congregant, who reportedly is a victim of child sexual abuse, filed a claim against the Yeshivah Centre and Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Telsner with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Right Commission (VEOHRC).
The victim has also reportedly been bullied and threatened by Chabad community members because he reported the child sex abuse to police. An Interim Intervention Order (IIO) was issued against someone in the Chabad community as a result. After that order was issued, the victim told Telsner Monday about it so the order could be properly enforced in the synagogue.
“Rabbi Telsner then asked the applicant (victim) whether he had sought and received permission from a rabbi to have the order granted by the court. The applicant advised Rabbi Telsner that the application had been done in conjunction with Victoria Police and was a subject to ‘dinei nefoshos’ (laws of life/death/wellbeing). Rabbi Telsner told the applicant (while in the shul and audible to others within in the shul), in clear and definitive terms that it did not matter, and that such an order could not be sought or obtained without getting written permission from a rabbi, and to do so was against Jewish law,” the victim said in a statement to the VEOHRC.
Melbourne Chabad’s Yeshivah Centre was told about the victim’s Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Right Commission complaint by The AJN Tuesday when the paper asked Chabad for comment.
On Wednesday, it denied knowing such a complaint existed – despite being given the details of the complaint by the AJN.
“The Yeshivah Centre is not aware of a complaint. The centre would of course review a complaint should it be made aware of one. We would take seriously any such complaint lodged with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, and would engage with the matter in the appropriate manner,” Chabad’s Yeshivah Centre told the paper.
Also this week, Philip Dalidakis, the Southern Metropolitan Member of the Victorian Legislative Council, called on the Prime Minister Tony Abbot and Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews to intervene to make the Chabad Yeshivah Centre and its affiliated schools and institutions accountable.
Dalidakis called for any government funding to Chabad to made be contingent on the resignation of all Chabad leaders who helped cover up abuse;, on Chabad producing all reports, letters and emails relevant to the concealment of abuse; on the implementation of clear, specific and enforceable rules for management; and on the establishment of a fund by Chabad to compensate victims.
Dalidakis reportedly told The AJN that he first contacted Chabad Yeshivah Centre leadership privately on February 20 but was “fobbed off” with a “disappointing” response.
Dalidakis letter. Please click to enlarge:
[Hat Tip for Dalidakis: David.]