Yosef Yitzchak Feldman – Filing Lawsuits instead of Paying Reparations –
Failed Messiah covered the news related to former Chabad Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Feldman for years. The accusations against him were, are and will always be in our view astounding. The news reported that he covered up abuse. He was in our view the quintessential Chabad denier of child sex abuse. He did not know it was a crime to touch a child’s genitals.
In our view there are so many people who have suffered, who will live a lifetime of suffering, it’s utterly and totally unthinkable. Yet, instead of apologizing, offering some sort of solace to the victims, paying damages for lives destroyed, Rabbi Feldman is filing suit, many of them.
What we find the most unconscionable piece of this entire story is trying to understand the source of the money for the lawsuits. Should that money not be going to the victims? What, as a Jewish community are we thinking following leaders who would allow this, even encourage it to continue by denying that “touching a child’s genitals” is abuse? By donating, offering support or paying for the lawsuits and ignoring the victims, every financial contributor is complicit in the crimes this former Chabad leader allowed to go un-prosecuted. As far as we know, the crimes were not Feldman’s crimes, they were those of members of his synagogue, those against children entrusted in his care.
The Chabad ultra-Orthodox community in Australia should rethink its values, its views, its definitions of what it means to be a Jew. Something has gone dramatically and sickeningly awry if tzedukkah means supporting these lawsuits instead of the lives of the many victims these lawsuits truly undermine. There are no other words and even these are not adequate.
The following is a link to the countless accounts and stories written and published, followed and criticized, detailed and penned by Failed Messiah as Feldman claimed to be protecting kids and yet discouraged them from reporting to police – redefining sexual abuse.
After that follows a link to the lawsuits, numerous lawsuits. While we were unable to get our hands on the complaints, anyone with access is free to send them over and we will publish.
Failed Messiah – accounts of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Feldman’s forays into redefining sexual abuse and arguing leniency for abusers instead of validation and understanding, compassion and justice for the abused.
The director of the ultra-orthodox Jewish Yeshiva centre in Sydney has resigned after last week telling a royal commission hearing he did not know it was a crime for an adult to touch a child’s genitals.
Rabbi Yosef Feldman’s evidence at a Melbourne hearing of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was widely criticised by Australia’s broader Jewish community.
In a statement, Rabbi Feldman apologised for the comments he made to the royal commission and said he would step down from all responsibilities as the director on the board of management at Yeshiva.
“I apologise to anyone in the Rabbinate, the Jewish community and the wider Australian community who may have been embarrassed or ashamed by my views, words, understandings, recordings or emails about child sexual abuse or any other matter,” he said.
“I have dedicated my life to doing whatever I can to protect and assist all people in need including those who have suffered from any form of abuse, especially children, and it pains me greatly that words that I have expressed have upset victims and their families.
“In the future I will be more careful with my words, so that they are only a source of pride to the Jewish and General community.
“I commit to undertake formal training and education on how to identify, handle and report abuse allegations.”
During the royal commission hearing, Rabbi Feldman said not all abuse cases should be referred to police and that paedophiles should be granted leniency.
“I would be asking for more leniency on people who have shown that they haven’t offended in the last 20 years or decades ago, and have psychological analyses that this is the case,” he said on Monday.
He said the approach would show “when you do the right thing, you won’t get mistreated badly and it’s not the end of the world … then you are not treated like a pariah, like a scum of the Earth.”
He also told the hearing he did not know it was a crime for an adult to touch a child’s genitals.
Rabbi Feldman also said publicity surrounding child sexual abuse “encourages even people who may not be real victims or may want to be considered heroes” to go to the police.
On Tuesday a child abuse victim said the evidence given by Rabbi Feldman showed the Yeshivah community was “rotten to the core” and called for leaders who ignored molestation to be banished from power.