|Rabbi Yosef Feldman|
August 5, 2011
Rabbi Yosef Feldman has stood down as president of the Rabbinical Council of NSW ''to clear his name'', after his comments in an email, reported in the Australian Jewish News, provoked outrage.
In the email, which has been obtained by The Age, Rabbi Feldman questioned a statement put out by the president of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, which said child molestation should be immediately reported to police.
''I really don't understand why as soon as something of serious loshon horo [gossip] is heard about someone of even child molestation should we immediately go to the secular authorities [sic],'' Rabbi Feldman says in the email.
He said he knew it wasn't ''politically correct'', but he believed someone would be considered an informer if they initially went to police.
Rabbi Feldman also wrote that ''one should just think how he'd react if one's father, son or brother was an alleged molester''.
''Initially one must go to a Rov [rabbi] who should firstly investigate the veracity of the complaint and if thought to be serious, warn the culprit etc and act in a way that could scare him by threatening him with publicity by internet to the whole community etc,'' he wrote. Rabbi Feldman did not return calls from The Age.
However, in a statement to the online Jewish news site J-Wire, Rabbi Feldman said the email exchange among rabbis was an ''academic discussion of a range of views held by international scholars on how to deal with situations not subject to mandatory reporting''.
He said in the statement that he had ''at all times publicly endorsed the unanimous view of the Rabbinical Council of NSW under his presidency that all acts of abuse must be reported to the police''.
The Rabbinical Council of NSW said it accepted Rabbi Feldman's decision to step aside at this time as president to ''clear his name'', in spite of his assurance that he fully endorsed the council's position on child abuse.
The Rabbinical Council of Victoria's immediate past president, Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant, said that even the mere implication that a victim should not report such a heinous crime to the police was repugnant.
The Rabbinical Council of Victoria last year issued a statement condemning child abuse and affirming that the prohibitions of mesirah - which discourages Jews from informing on other Jews to civil authorities - did not apply in cases of abuse.
''The rabbinical leadership has said there is no excuse for protecting a potential paedophile,'' Rabbi Kluwgant said.
He Told Me In No Uncertain Terms, That You Are Not Allowed To Report Molesters
?And Who Is The Liar snd Moser
Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg
Child Abuse|Child Molestation|Child Sex Abuse|Melbourne|Mesira|Mesirah|Molestation|molester|Molesting|Rabbi Yosef Feldman|Yosef Feldman|