RABBI Pinchus Feldman admitted last week that he had “dropped the ball” because he still didn’t know the details of Sydney Yeshiva Centre’s child protection policies.
At the 2015 Royal Commission hearings the centre’s leaders were told they failed in their duties for not knowing the details.
When it was revealed, more than 750 days later, that Rabbi Feldman still did not know the details the counsel assisting the Royal Commission, Naomi Sharp, questioned Rabbi Feldman’s knowledge on leadership.
“Do you accept that leaders of institutions should be aware of the details of the child protection policies?” Sharp asked.
“That may be the case, and if that is the case then I am faulty, so we need to rectify it,” Rabbi Feldman responded.
Sharp then asked why he hadn’t addressed it before, and Rabbi Feldman responded, “Because I have felt that I’ve delegated it to somebody who was thoroughly versed in these matters and who assured me that things were under control and that the policies were being followed. So, as I say, if there was some more that was needed for me to do, I apologise.”
Sharp then said, “You’ve completely dropped the ball here, haven’t you Rabbi Feldman?”
Rabbi Feldman responded, “I accept.”
Rabbi Feldman earlier said that it was only the day before the Royal Commission that the Yeshivah Synagogue decided to engage a consultant to make sure that the policies and procedures for Chabad Youth would also be applied to the shul.
This week, Rabbi Feldman wrote to The AJN and stated that the Yeshiva Synagogue has policies and procedures that the shul board has discussed many times.
“The person who is in charge and who is completely proficient in the details is Rabbi Elimelech Levy. As a leader it is my responsibility to see to it that there are suitable policies and procedures, and that suitable, competent people are in charge on a day to day basis. Both of these conditions have been fulfilled adequately,” he said.
During the hearing, the issue of redress surfaced and, for the first time, the argument between the Yeshiva Centre, Yeshiva College and Kesser Torah College was aired in public.
Rabbi Feldman said that the Yeshiva Centre has had no victims and that Kesser Torah College (KTC) was the legal entity responsible for anything that happened at the Yeshiva school prior to 2003.
Yeshiva College’s Rabbi Dovid Slavin said his school should not be responsible for redress because the abuse occurred before the school was established, in 2008.
KTC president Meir Moss said the school has great sympathy for anyone that has suffered from abuse.
“KTC has always been separate from the Yeshiva Centre and those people who run the Yeshiva Centre,” Moss said.
Full coverage in this week’s AJN.