Australia’s top rabbis urge Yeshivah leaders who failed abuse survivors to step down

The Guardian

Christopher Knaus

Australia’s most senior orthodox rabbis have called on Jewish leaders who failed child abuse survivors to stand down from their public positions.

The rabbinical councils of Australia and New Zealand, New South Wales, and Victoria issued a joint statement on Wednesday in response to the royal commission’s damning findings against Yeshivah communities in Melbourne and Sydney.

The royal commission found the two insular, ultraorthodox Chabad-Lubavitch communities discouraged the reporting of child abuse, failed to act when complaints were made, and treated survivors and their families as outcasts.

The three rabbinical councils said they were “deeply distressed” by the contents of the report, and acknowledged the abuse had caused “unimaginable suffering” to survivors.

The councils called on leaders who had denigrated or undermined victims to stand down from their positions, saying they had “lost their right to serve in our communities”.

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