Words can be relatively simple to write but also meaningless if unaccompanied by action. I myself received an apology from the Yeshivah Centre in 2016 which was meaningful at the time but, two years later, has been shown to be a meaningless public relations exercise as the organisation has not followed through with the basic changes necessary for it to have been a sincere apology.
There is no better example of this than that (Rabbis) Groner and Telsner continue to be associated with the Yeshivah Centre and hold significant leadership positions there, despite the roles they played in the child sex abuse scandal as found by the Royal Commission. This continues to cause victims/survivors immense pain and suffering. It also indicates that the Yeshivah Centre continues to disregard the Royal Commission findings.
If the Yeshivah Centre truly believes that the Jewish month of Elul is a time to reflect, then perhaps it should reflect on holding (Rabbis) Groner and Telsner to account and removing them from any involvement in the Centre (the Rabbis themselves have proven to be unwilling or incapable of doing this). Only then will their words be taken seriously by victims/survivors and the broader community.
Yeshivah Centre letter
י"א אלול תשע"ח
22 August, 2018
Elul is a time to reflect. Leading into Rosh Hashana, the Yeshivah Centre Limited, Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah Colleges Limited and Chabad Institutions of Victoria Limited publicly state that:
Menachem Vorchheimer was critical to bringing child sex offenders to justice and bringing about cultural change and awareness within the Yeshivah and wider Jewish community. Menachem has been a significant contributor in terms of championing child safety, transparency and good governance. The Yeshivah Centre is grateful for those contributions and regrets any personal cost to Menachem and his family for these efforts.
We confirm that Menachem has not engaged in any conduct against the interests of the Yeshivah Centre. We categorically reject any labelling of him as a "moser" and causing a Chillul Hashem or Chillul Lubavitch, and publicly disassociate ourselves from any such lashan harah (slander.)
Menachem has also been a significant financial donor to the Yeshivah Centre for which we are grateful.
As the leadership of the Yeshivah Centre, we acknowledge and express our regret together with our sincere apology for any distress and hurt that the absence of an appropriate internal framework to manage through the various issues has caused for Menachem and his family.
We now wish that Menachem's contributions and efforts be appropriately recognised and to take positive steps, together with the community, to restore his good name.
Wishing the community a Ksiva Vechasima Tova,
Chabad Institutions Victoria Limited
Yeshivah Beth Rivkah Schools Limited
Yeshivah Centre Limited
Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Groner
Rabbi Zvi Telsner