Australia Moves to Shutter Yeshiva Tied to Sex Abuse Scandal

A string of child molestation cases and financial woes had repeatedly plunged Yeshiva College Bondi and its counterpart in Melbourne into controversy

Samuel Sokol is a freelance journalist based in Jerusalem. He was previously a correspondent at the Jerusalem Post and has reported for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Israel Broadcasting Authority and the Times of Israel. He is the author of Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews.
Sam Sokol
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Yeshivah College in Melbourne, Australia, where the alleged cases of child sexual abuse took place in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Yeshivah College in Melbourne, Australia, where the alleged cases of child sexual abuse took place in the 1980s and early 1990s. Credit: Wikipedia Commons
Samuel Sokol is a freelance journalist based in Jerusalem. He was previously a correspondent at the Jerusalem Post and has reported for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Israel Broadcasting Authority and the Times of Israel. He is the author of Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews.
Sam Sokol

An Australian yeshiva previously embroiled in child sex abuse scandals is expected to close after recommendations by local authorities for failure to maintain educational standards.

The New South Wales Civil Administrative Tribunal called for the termination of Yeshiva College Bondi's operations, citing "ongoing non-compliance with the requirements for school registration," according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

This included a failure to hire qualified staff, comply with curricular regulations or create a “safe and supportive environment.”

“My lack of satisfaction that the school is complying with requirements means that I cannot be confident that students' safety and welfare are not thereby being placed at risk,” one official was reported as stating, adding that the yeshiva’s “students are not receiving the education they are required, by law, to be given.”

A string of child molestation cases and financial woes had repeatedly plunged Yeshiva College Bondi and its counterpart, Yeshiva College Melbourne, both run by the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidic movement, into controversy.

The persistent financial troubles prompted Chabad's chief rabbi, Pinchus Feldman, to hand over budgetary control of the school to a committee run by parents to "independently ensure its continued financial viability."

In 2012 and in 2016 it was singled out by the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

According to the commission’s report, some members of the Australian Jewish community had been “discouraged from reporting” allegations of child sexual abuse against employees of the two yeshivas.

The report followed a public hearing in February 2015 which investigated, among other matters, Yeshiva College’s response to allegations of child sexual abuse made against Daniel Hayman, who was accused of sexually molesting boys while he was working as a volunteer at an affiliated camp.

The Royal Commission heard evidence that a Jewish law, known as mesirah, forbids a Jew from informing upon, or handing over another Jew to a secular authority, particularly where criminal conduct is alleged. Under Jewish law, gossiping or speaking negatively of another Jew, Jewish institution or place, is discouraged, even if what is said is objectively true.

JTA contributed to this report.

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