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.
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.
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.