|Rabbi Abraham Shemtom|
ONE of the world’s senior orthodox rabbis has shunned Australia’s royal commission into child sexual abuse, saying he’s too busy to talk about it.
In a snub to sex assault victims, New York-based rabbi Abraham Shemtov refused to discuss evidence given during a two-week probe into Melbourne’s Yeshivah Centre.
It included calls by one of his rabbis for leniency for paedophiles and admissions that senior Yeshivah leaders had covered up child sex crimes.
There have been renewed calls for Australia’s top rabbi, Meir Shlomo Kluwgant, to be sacked from his many posts after he admitted sending a vile text about the father of three sexual assault victims.
Zephaniah Waks, father of high-profile victim Manny, was giving evidence to the royal commission when Rabbi Kluwgant sent an associate a text saying he was a “lunatic” who was “killing” Chabad — the orthodox Jewish movement which oversees the Yeshivah Centre.
Rabbi Kluwgant is the president of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, a Victoria Police chaplain and holds a string of other senior posts.
Victoria Police yesterday confirmed it would be meeting Rabbi Kluwgant to discuss concerns and his role as a member of the Victoria Police multi-faith council.
When first contacted by the Sunday Herald Sun, Rabbi Shemtov, No. 2 in the Chabad hierarchy, said he was in a meeting and could not talk. He ignored further correspondence and did not return calls.
The New York headquarters appoints and delists emissaries to Australia, and is responsible for the worldwide movement. Rabbi Shemtov regularly leads delegations to the White House and has formed close relationships with the past eight presidents.
But local victims have accused him of failing to do anything to prevent child sexual abuse here.
Last week Rabbi Yosef Feldman sparked widespread outrage when he called for leniency for paedophiles who had not offended in decades.
He also claimed to know little about child abuse laws while director of a school, and said he didn’t know it was illegal for an adult to touch the genitals of a child.
There were calls for his sacking as director of Sydney’s Yeshivah Centre that prompted his resignation.
Victims say it hasn’t gone far enough and want Chabad headquarters to make an example of him and Rabbi Kluwgant to prove they are serious about sexual abuse.
“Chabad leaders say nothing about abuse, do nothing about abuse and just let things continue the way they always have,” one victim said.
Shemtov is no stranger to failing to report child sex abuse or to being unconcerned about it taking place. He ignored persistent child sex abuse allegations against Rabbi Stanley Z. "Schneur Zalman" Levitt and told the media later the allegations were only "rumor."
"Lots of rumor that flew back and forth" about Levitt, Shemtov said, noting that he (Shemtov) never got involved with the issue even though Levitt regularly attended Shemtov's synagogue and had complete unfettered access to children there.
Perhaps the reason why top Chabad leaders seem so disinterested in stopping child sex abuse is that the third rebbe (top rabbinic leader) of thier movement, Menachem Mendel Schneersohn (d. 1866; the ancestor of last Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who was named after him), commonly known as the Tzemach Tzedek, allowed a child molester to go unpunished and to retain free and unfettered access to children.
A rabbi was playing with a boy/youth on Purim and put his hands in the boy's pants and groped the boys genitals and then was caught.
The rabbi claimed that he groped the boy/youth's genitals because he (the rabbi) was impotent. The rabbi said he thought his own impotence and lack of sexual function could be due to the size of his own testicles, which the rabbi believed to be abnormally small. So he groped the boy/youth to see if they boy's testicles were similarly sized.
Right! So he compared his testicles to that of a boy - that should tell him a lot! What a joke. These men need some prison time to consider their priorities and sins. They don't seem to have any idea how difficult Judgment Day will be for them.
The Tzemach Tzedek accepted the rabbi's explanation and allowed him to keep his teaching position.