THE appointment of former Yeshivah Committee of Management (COM) member Michael Goldhirsch to the Yeshivah Centre Limited (YCL) board has been met with shock by sections of the community.
Chabad Institutions of Victoria Limited (CIVL) announced this week that Goldhirsch is a new member of its board, and that it has nominated him as one of three representatives on the YCL board, which is the roof board of CIVL and Yeshivah and Beth Rivkah Colleges.
Goldhirsch was a member of the COM until soon after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2015.
During the time he was on the COM, children were sexually abused within the organisation and victims were re-victimised when they came forward.
Child sexual abuse victim Manny Waks said he was shocked by the announcement.
“Goldhirsch himself has never privately apologised [to me],” Waks said.
“We had hoped that a ‘new’ Yeshivah leadership would heed the message from the Royal Commission and internally hold to account those who disgraced their institution so badly and caused untold damage to many individuals and to the broader Jewish community.
“Astonishingly, Goldhirsch is now effectively back in charge of the safety and wellbeing of children, which is a disgrace and yet another slap in the face to victims/survivors and our families.”
Goldhirsch was part of the COM that was heavily criticised by Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission Maria Gerace, who stated that the COM hesitated when asked to support victims.
“Evidence shows that the Committee of Management sought advice from Robert Richter QC about the potential criminal liability of Rabbi Glick or others in respect of the (now convicted child sexual abuser) David Cyprys allegations and whether or not the COM should contact victims before writing to the community at large to publicly support victims and their families,” she said.
In summarising her submissions, Gerace said the COM “had an opportunity to unequivocally show their support for the victims of child sexual abuse, advocates and their families, but they did not.
“It is submitted that their omissions implicitly condoned the actions of others in the community who criticised and shunned the victims, advocates and their families.”