In his letter, Mirvis claims to be deeply troubled by 'the shameful support of R' Moti Elon', referring to a convicted child sexual offender and the support he received from Rabbi Chaim Druckman, another leading figure in the religious Zionist movement, which led to Elon being able to continue his sexual predatory behaviour. Mirvis also claims to be reminded of the 'mishandling of allegations' and the 'mistreatment of victims' and warns against complacency which can result from pointing the finger at 'celebrated child protection failures at other organisations in Melbourne'.
Yet Mirvis had no issue with paying tribute to Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner at an event hosted by Yeshivah last year, where Mirvis spoke on the subject of 'Models of Jewish leadership'. The Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse found that Groner was directly responsible for the sexual abuse of countless children in his care by multiple perpetrators over a period of decades.
Pray tell Rabbi Mirvis, what is the difference between Druckman's 'shameful support of R' Moti Elon' which you find troubling and the actions of Groner, whom you glorify?
In defending his participation at the Groner tribute event (which did not include an acknowledgement of his failures or an apology to his countless victims/survivors and their families), Mirvis stated: “it is possible to both acknowledge the ongoing suffering caused by the failures posthumously identified by the Royal Commission, and mark Rabbi Groner’s contribution to Melbourne Jewry”.
No, Rabbi Mirvis. It is not possible. Just as it is not possible any more to honour Cardinal Pell on account of the good work he may have done. And no, there is no difference in terms of the culpability of a sexual abuser and their accomplice who allows abuse to occur and assists the abusers to avoid justice and endanger additional children (and to remind Mirvis, at least two convicted Yeshivah pedophiles continued offending after Groner covered up for them - David Cyprys and David Kramer).
Finally, I can assure Mirvis that neither I, nor any victims/survivors I have ever met, would consider the atrocities committed against us at Yeshivah to be 'celebrated child protection failures'. The rape and assaults against screaming children, including at knife point, and the numerous other unspeakable horrors inflicted by people in positions of power against innocent Jewish children and young teenagers at Yeshivah are not 'celebrated child protection failures'. They are soul-destroying crimes, which often impact victims every day of their lives.
Make no mistake, Mirvis is no friend of child sexual abuse victims and survivors. And in honouring Groner and speaking on the subject of 'Models of Jewish Leadership', Mirvis sent a far clearer message to the youth group leaders within his organisation as to his attitude towards child sexual abuse than he communicated in this letter.
First let Mirvis and Mizrachi apologise and acknowledge the distress he and his organisation have caused to child sexual abuse victims/survivors, their families and advocates, and then let him preach on the subject.