Winds of Change in Australia: Cover-Up Rabbi Telsner Resigns

Zvi Telsner

Zvi Telsner

Rabbi Tvi Telsner was finally forced to resign as head of Melbourne’s Yeshivah Centre. His misconduct over the years included helping accused molesters flee the country just ahead of the cops (e.g., Malka Leifer), threatening and shunning victims who went to the police, and orchestrating a barrage of abusive comments about victims who dared to go public with their charges.

ABC in Australia reports

Manny Waks, who went public in 2011 with allegations he was repeatedly sexual abused as a boy at Yeshivah College and accusations of a cover-up, said the rabbi was “at the heart” of the scandal, and said his position had been untenable for a long time.

“He has caused immense pain and suffering to the victims, to our families, but also to the broader Jewish community — not just to the Yeshivah community — because he has tainted all of us,” he said.

Zephaniah Waks and his son, Manny Waks

Zephaniah Waks and his son, Manny Waks

Waks just released the lastest on Telsner’s machinations and that may have precipitated the resignation.
Telsner’s resignation statement is pathetically dishonest. He claims to have failed to show enough sensitivity. Heck, his only regret, I believe, was getting caught. I assume he is furious at those who caused his downfall. But sometimes, what matters is not changing the hearts of the incorrigible, but ensuring that outside influences reach them and force them to change or resign.

That happened thanks to the hard work of Manny Waks, his father Zephaniah who weathered shunning, the Royal Commission, and the media. I have no idea if the Interim Committee of Management of Yeshivah Centre is motivated to truly do the right thing or just to avoid scandal. But either way, this is some progress. Hopefully, it is the former. Otherwise, the most we can hope for is greater skill in not getting caught.

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7 thoughts on “Winds of Change in Australia: Cover-Up Rabbi Telsner Resigns

  1. “I have no idea if the Interim Committee of Management of Yeshivah Centre is motivated to truly do the right thing or just to avoid scandal. But either way, this is some progress. Hopefully, it is the former. Otherwise, the most we can hope for is greater skill in not getting caught.”

    Unless the zebra has changed its stripes the take-away for them from this will be to circle the wagons even more tightly and continue to do what they always have. By jettisoning Telsner they deflect attention onto him and away from their institutions’ failings. Religous fanatics have moral blind spots precisely the size and shape of themselves.

  2. One clarification, Telsner and Chabad have nothing to do with Malka Laufer, she worked at a different school in a different segment of the community, a segment with no ties to Chabad.

  3. While I welcome the resignation of Telsner it is difficult to understand why the “ultra orthodox” institutions are the only ones to be targeted by Manny Waks and in the news media. It is well known in Melbourne that various forms of abuse occurred at Mount Scopus College (an officially modern orthodox school) and at the Maccabi sporting club over the years but these institutions have seen little or no attention from the media.
    The Yeshivah is now working hard to get it’s house in order and the Yeshivah community is scrutinizing the restructure very carefully. It has taken a long time but change is currently happening and continuing at that institution. What is happening at other Jewish schools to protect their students?

    • Melbourner,
      the world of abused children desperately needs people like you. no one can cover all bases.
      It would be splendid, a mitzvah, me’al u’me’ever if you would start an anti child sexual abuse organization to protect all of those many children that did not fall under the large umbrella that Manny carved out. Keep in mind that he was the first in Australia, keep in mind, that Australia is super corrupt, Chabad in Australia is a world unto itself, they somehow never got the email that it was no longer the wild west, they were not on the mailing list, they are a disgrace to all Jewish organizations, orthodox, chassidic, Lubavitch , etc.
      Do you think that American Lubavitch are emotionally disconnected from the disgusting actions and cover-ups in Australia?? Do you?

      Please, take actions, and do your utmost to protect kids in those institutions that were not covered by Manny. He could not, can not fix the entire Jewish ortho world, in australia or out, but this is your huge opportunity to make difference. for you and your progeny and theirs. This is your chance to make a HUGE difference in the world of CSA child sexual abuse. Please, follow your words, and take action, fill in where you feel (b’tsedek, likely) that manny could not cover the universe. STEP UP TO THE BAT MELBOURNER..

  4. How can people of such poor morals be rabbis and leaders? It makes me wonder if being orthodox means anything or could mean anything.

    • I would not condemn all of orthodoxy for the flaws of some rabbis. But I would say that orthodoxy has on the whole failed to confront abuse and in fact often cover ups and rarely penalizes those involved in cover-ups.

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