Thursday, August 6, 2015

Schlesinger Twins: Where is the response from Austria?

Guest Post

There are probably not many people in the online Jewish world who have not yet heard about the tragic custody case of the Schlesinger twins in Vienna. Anyone still unfamiliar with the details of this case who is interested in finding out more, should watch this frank discussion in British parliament

In the last few weeks an extraordinary letter  has been published, signed by an increasing number of senior and well-respected Rabbis, in protest at the treatment of the twins and their mother in Vienna (full letter is included at the end of this post). The letter openly criticizes the courts as much as the Austrian Jewish community and their leaders. It is very rare for a community to be called out so publicly by the rest of the Jewish world in this way, and has no doubt only happened following the exhaustion of all diplomatic efforts to engage the local Rabbinate in any constructive dialogue.

Furthermore, this letter follows many other independent letters including from a Beth Din, The office of the Chief Rabbi in the UK, and the British Board of Deputies, and the CEO of Chabad in the UK. (Full list here )

So far, there has been no (public) response from anyone in Austria despite every opportunity afforded to them. Anyone who tries to contact a friend or family member in Vienna is told they have no knowledge of the case or the people involved. (Try it yourself Austria - Vienna Synagogues )

Jewish leadership in Vienna rests firmly on the shoulders of these men. They may think ignoring this international scandal absolves them of any wrong-doing, but clearly public opinion thinks otherwise. The longer this goes unresolved, the more distance will be created between the Jews of Austria and the rest of the globe. Rabbinic reputations built up over entire careers are being frittered away because they are choosing to ignore what has now become an International scandal within the Jewish world and beyond.
Chief Rabbi Paul Chaim Eisenberg

Chief Rabbi Paul Chaim Eisenberg is the current Chief Rabbi of the body that represents Vienna’s Orthodox Jewish community, known as the IKG. He succeeded his father, Rabbi Akiba Eisenberg, in 1983.

Rabbi Avrohom Yona Schwartz
Rabbi Avrohom Yona Schwartz is the Rabbi of the Khal Chassidim on 

Grosse Schiffgasse, and carries a recognized Kashrut authority in Vienna. He was one of the closest students of the late Rabbi Chanoch Dov Padwa (Stamford Hill, London) and wrote the book Halichos Chanoch which entails a collection of his halachic rulings, lessons and anecdotes.

He is regarded by many as the leading figurehead for the Chareidi community in Vienna.

Rabbi Josef Pardes

Rabbi Josef Pardes is the Rabbi of the Misrachi Synagogue on Rabensteig in Vienna and is the son of the disgraced late Dayan Chaim Pardes, former President of the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court (Israel).
Many people in Vienna view him as a close mentor of Mr Schlesinger. Rabbi Pardes has to date ignored many invitations to comment on the subject.

Chabad Rabbi Jacob Biderman

Chabad Rabbi Jacob Biderman is the head Chabad emissary to Austria and is the principal of the Chabad kindergarten attended by the Schlesinger Twins. He also serves as the Rabbi of the Chabad Synagogue "Heichal Menachem" on Rabbiner Schneerson Platz.
Biderman holds a position on the Executive Board of the RCE and is vice president of the "Lauder Foundation" for educational affairs.

Former IKG Present Ariel Muzicant

Ariel Muzicant was president of the IKG until February 2012. Although Dr Muzicant is no longer the IKG president, many still regard him as one of the most influential men in the Austrian Jewish community today. He is a Vice President of World Jewish Congress (headed by Ronald Lauder) and also a Vice President of European Jewish Congress in charge of security and crisis management.

Current IKG President Oskar Deutsch

Oskar Deutsch has been the president of the IKG since 2012 and has used his position to speak out against anti-Semitism.

1 comment :

  1. Jacob Biderman is a very shrewd sexual predator. Unfortunately I know through first hand experience- as one of his victims.


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