Media Release: Yeshivah victims alarmed at Yeshivah statement on Rabbi Chaim Tsvi Groner
28 April 2017
We are also gravely concerned with the response issued by the Chabad Institutions of Victoria Limited (‘CIVL’) Board on 26 April 2017 and in particular, their statement that ‘the Board is of the view that Rabbi Groner did not mislead the Royal Commission’.
Yeshivah’s view as to whether or not Rabbi Groner is guilty of the serious crime for which he is being investigated is irrelevant to the question of whether he should remain on the boards at this time. If Yeshivah has learned nothing else from its past failures, it should be that it is never appropriate to supplant their decision-making over the role of police.
Moreover, it is extraordinary that Yeshivah would express such a view concerning Rabbi Groner’s evidence about the role of Rabbi Telsner while in the very next sentence, admitting that they are still ‘working through the various considerations’ and unable to clarify Rabbi Telsner’s position.
This should serve as a reminder to the community that crimes must be reported directly to the police and that Yeshivah is not only ill-equipped to investigate crimes but remains unable or unwilling to judge the conduct of particular members of their community objectively.
In our view, the fact that Rabbi Groner has not yet stood down raises questions over whether he is capable of separating his own interests from those of Yeshivah. Additionally, the fact that the other Board members have not stood him down raises questions over their commitment to normal governance practices and accountability. It must be obvious to Yeshivah that the past practice of protecting their own at all costs has no place today and will only lead to another avoidable and drawn out Chillul Hashem (desecration of God’s name) in which their entire community suffers.
We call on Rabbi Groner to immediately do the right thing and take responsibility for his conduct by standing down from the Boards of Yeshivah. Failing that, Yeshivah should take the only proper course of action and stand down Rabbi Groner without delay.
We have heard some of the new Board members speak of a desire to implement the good governance and accountability which has been lacking in the past. Now is their opportunity. In our view, any board of Yeshivah that counts Rabbi Groner as a member has no credibility and is no different to its predecessor.