Yeshivah and the Royal Commission

Rabbi resigns after comments at Royal Commission Yeshivah hearing spark outcry

“Rotten to the core” was how one child abuse survivor described the Yeshivah Jewish community to the Child Abuse Royal Commission after his allegations of molestation were ignored.

The victim was sexually abused by convicted paedophiles, Daniel Hayman and David Cyprys, at the Yeshivah Bondi Centre in the 1980s. The victim was aged 10 at the time of the abuse.

In 2015, the Royal Commission Yeshivah hearings looked at how Melbourne’s Yeshivah Centre and College, and the Yeshivah Centre and College in Bondi, NSW, responded to allegations of child sexual abuse.

The Yeshivah Centres and Colleges in Melbourne and Sydney are part of the Chabad-Lubavitch (‘Chabad’) movement. Members of this movement are sometimes referred to as ultra-Orthodox Jews. The Melbourne Yeshiva Centre was established in the late 1940s by Jewish migrants, while the Sydney centre opened in 1956.

Rabbi Yosef Feldman, a leader in the Sydney Yeshivah Community, told the Commission that he didn’t know that it was a crime for an adult to touch a child’s genitals. Feldman also said that paedophiles who had reformed or were inactive should be entitled to leniency and they shouldn’t be made to feel like the “scum of the earth”. After widespread criticism from the Jewish community, Feldman resigned and apologised for his statements.

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