Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sydney's top rabbi urged to resign over views of reporting abuse to police

SYDNEY’S top rabbi has been urged to resign after he said it should be up to rabbis to decide whether allegations of child abuse should be reported to police.

In a series of emails that contradicted the recommendations from other rabbinical authorities around Australia in the wake of claims of abuse at Melbourne’s Yeshivah College, Rabbinical Council of NSW (RCNSW) president Rabbi Yosef Feldman outlined his views to fellow members of the rabbinate.

Among his assertions were that anyone who reported a paedophile would be responsible if the paedophile was raped in prison.

He also said abuse should be dealt with, when legally possible, outside the Australian legal system.

“I really don’t understand why as soon as something of serious loshon horo (evil talk) is heard about someone of even child molestation should we immediately go to the secular authorities (sic),” Rabbi Feldman wrote.


  1. His comments are simply not thought through. He ought to know there are mandatory reporting laws in Australia. He ought to also know that even if it's an unfounded complaint, that the authorities are in the best position to assess all the evidence with the rule of law as their backbone. His reported comments are totally self-contradictory because they imply that on the one hand one must report based on the law and then assert that if a perpetrator is molested in the prison, the person who reported to the police is responsible for that act. You cannot have it both ways.

    He is known to be maverick. I'll leave it at that. That being said, he has caused many people to look upon religion in a negative way. One wonders why he felt the need to publish his dissenting view. He isn't considered as a Rabbinic leader despite his "position", and if I was his board, I'd demote him from his position as opposed to sack him from that board. He should be an ordinary member. His opinions are decidedly ordinary.

    Sydney is a splintered community especially within his own wider enclave. It is gravely in need of a leader of stature and principles.

  2. Note: he has now denied much of what was written.


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