Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Chief Rabbi of England urges community to report sex abuse allegations to police

Jewish Chronicle  The Chief Rabbi's statement in full:

The conviction of a prominent member of the Manchester Jewish community for sexual abuse is of immense significance. Though certainly not the first such case, it sends an unequivocal message that nobody, in any part of our community, can expect to commit these horrific crimes and escape prosecution. The longstanding view of the Chief Rabbi and Beth Din has been restated a number of times in recent years, but this is an opportune moment to reinforce that position once again. 

I would like to commend the victims and others who withstood tremendous pressure and gave evidence. I hope that their courage will inspire others to come forward in the future. 

This kind of abuse is a stain on all of society and we are no less vulnerable to the scourge of sexual crimes than any other community. Perpetrators of these crimes destroy lives and every one of us shares in the responsibility to protect victims and potential victims. As such, we must not only ensure that all incidents are reported to the police without delay, but that we must do everything in our power to promote a culture whereby reporting such crimes to the relevant statutory authorities is supported and encouraged.

It is imperative that communities across the country have robust child protection policies in place and should act in consultation with the statutory services. Every community should review its policies and procedures regularly and consider what else can be done - we can always do more.

Further to previously held training seminars for Rabbis, I will be writing this week to Rabbis across the country, advising them of a mandatory, dedicated seminar that the United Synagogue is organising on behalf of its communities, in order to better prepare Rabbis to identify and respond to incidents of child abuse in their communities and to reinforce the importance of being vigilant at all times. In addition, I am meeting with victims of abuse and campaigners in this area to seek views from them as to what more can be done to better protect vulnerable people in our communities.

May we all have the courage to seek out and challenge cruelty and injustice from within our midst.


  1. Not to sound too skeptical about this but, what proportion of England's Jews fall under the United Synagogue umbrella? And of those few who do fall under the United Synagogue umbrella, how many will do anything because the "Chief Rabbi" said to do it?

  2. It is actually the largest network of shuls, and has the largest sector of Anglo-Jewry as members. There is a small but growing Hareidi sector, and they are generally organized under the Adath group of shuls and communities. Btw, in the past, it was the Hareidi leaders who were vehemently opposed about "mesira" of sex abusers to the authorities.
    In any case, there is an interesting interplay between the United Synagogue (which in UK is orthodox) and the Adas.

  3. What is the interplay between United Synagogue and the Adas?

    Hadn't the Chief Rabbis in prewar and postwar Britain had the support of the Chareidim?

  4. On some things they cooperate, on others not. Previous Chief Rabbi Sacks was always getting into trouble so he had to avoid certain things, like going to Limmud etc. R Mirvis is more independent minded, and does as he sees right. I even heard that when R' Jacobovits was given a Knighthood, and became a Lord, he was criticised by the hareidim for accepting it.
    Kashrus is always big business. However, for giur, the London BD (Chief Rabbi) is one of the strictest in the world.

  5. Hasn't the London BD been run under Chareidi auspices for a long time already?

  6. The Adas?

    Isn't the Federation bigger and more accepted amongst Orthodox Anglo Jewry? Kedasia is not bigger as far as those who will actually adhere to their psak?

    How many people actually attend United Synagogue on a regular basis?

    The Adas Shuls are not registered with the Federation?

  7. LBD has Dayanim from all sectors. In Kashrus, which is a major part of their activity, they are not Hareidi, but permit certain things which would not be permitted under Kedassia (the Adath BD).

  8. Toldos Green HouseMay 28, 2015 at 8:22 PM

    I think all the commentators below have lost their minds. This message from Rabbi Mirvis should be echoed by all the Fed, Chareidim, Chassidim, reform, conservative,... across the board.

    It is deplorable that people are playing politics on such a serious topic like this. Why can't everyone put their differences aside and stand behind Rabbi Mirvis on such an obvious and important issue.

  9. The chief rabbi of England has come out with a very clear statement condemning child sex abuse and also stated that it must unequivocally always be reported to the police. This is surely a common sense statement which is appllicable to every facet of judaism not just in the United Kingdom but throughout the whole world. For your commentators to then have a discussion as to whom exactly the Chief Rabbi of England represents and what proportion of the United Kingdom Jewish community he represents is surely perverse. His message applies to every jew all over the world and every person who has any involvement with children should be made aware that there is zero tolerance. He has shown leadership by speaking out, and instead of discussing who he represents he should be praised for speaking out and his views readilly accepted and followed by all jews.


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