A disgraced [Chabad] rabbi forced to step down from a string of posts after he was caught intimidating and vilifying victims of child sexual abuse is now teaching Jewish Studies at a Chabad girls high school in Melbourne – a school run his father, Rabbi Sholom Mendel Kluwgant, and his aunt, Nechama Bendet.
Above:Meir Shlomo Kluwgant
The Herald Sun reports:
A disgraced [Chabad] rabbi forced to step down from a string of posts after he was caught intimidating and vilifying victims of child sexual abuse is now teaching Jewish Studies at an Orthodox [i.e., Chabad] ladies college [high school].
Meir Shlomo Kluwgant was forced to resign as Australia’s top rabbi amid a humiliating scandal in the wake of the child abuse royal commission’s probe into Yeshivah College.
But in a move that has outraged victims of abuse Rabbi Kluwgant is now teaching religious studies at Beth Rivkah Ladies College [high school] — operated by the [Chabad] Yeshivah Centre who has backed the move.
He has been teaching at the school for several months on a volunteer basis, but is remunerated by the Yeshivah Centre for performing other duties.
The move has outraged victims of child sexual abuse who say it is evidence the centre is not serious about tackling the scourge of abuse.
Yeshivah Centre spokesman Jeremy Gold said criticism about Rabbi Kluwgant’s work at the school stemmed from a personal dispute with another community member.
“Rabbi Kluwgant has stepped down from his communal roles and thus had some extra time to volunteer in the schools which we readily accepted as he has extensive knowledge and expertise which is truly appreciated by the students and their families. This arrangement seemed to be mutually beneficial — both for the students and the Rabbi who had the time available,” he said.
“Members of the Interim Committee of Management (Com), as a priority, are reaching out and meeting with victims, seeking their feedback and input as they focus on developing best practice for addressing past victims of child sexual abuse. The Com are looking to establish an independently operated multifaceted redress scheme and have been in consultation with relevant experts to achieve this.
“To the best of our knowledge the rabbi has never been accused of CSA or covering up CSA. He has undertaken Working with Children check, The Australian Childhood foundation safeguarding children training course and has passed all the additional College screening and police checks.”
Earlier this year Rabbi Kluwgant resigned as president of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, less than 12 months after being elevated to the role.
He also lost his position on Victoria Police’s Multi-Faith Advisory Committee and resigned as general manager of cultural and spiritual services at Jewish Care, where he had worked for 26 years.
The decorated rabbi was left humiliated and publicly shamed during the child abuse Royal Commission after it was revealed he had labelled the father of a sexual assault victim a “lunatic”.
It was also revealed he had intimidated a victim who called on Jewish leaders to confront the child sexual abuse crisis by telling him to “remain silent”.
At the Royal Commission hearings into child sex abuse at Chabad institutions in Australia, Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant:
• Sent a text message to the editor of the Australian Jewish News suggesting that a father of three victims was responsible (through neglect, not commission) for the sexual abuse his children suffered at Chabad's Yeshivah College and is a "lunatic" out to destroy Chabad. The father of those victims was testifying before the Royal Commission as Kluwgant sent those text messages. When testifying before the Royal Commission later, Kluwgant claimed he didn't recall sending the texts. He was quickly caught in his lie. (Read all about it here.)
• Was accused by a witness of a long, ongoing, campaign of intimidation and harassment against a victim and his family.
• Was accused by another witness of intimidating him to try to stop him from reporting his abuse to police.
Kluwgant's testimony was so awful, he was forced to resign or was dismissed from a number of key posts in the Jewish community, including:
• General Manager of Cultural and Spiritual Services at Jewish Care Victoria
• President of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia
• Executive Member of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria ('RCV')
• Victoria Police Chaplain
• Member of Victoria Police multi-faith council
• White Ribbon Ambassador
But Kluwgant kept his job as Chabad's chief shochet (ritual slaughterer), a position that Jewish law says can't be held by a known liar.
And now Kluwgant is teaching children in a Chabad school.