Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Australian Chabad Rabbi Resigns Over Sex Abuse Scandal

The chief rabbi at Chabad headquarters in Melbourne resigned, apologizing for his conduct toward victims of child sexual abuse and their families.

“I recognize that my conduct towards victims and their families did not demonstrate … behavior to the extent necessary of a rabbi in my position,” Rabbi Tzvi Telsner wrote in an open letter Tuesday. “We all must be aware of how our words and actions impact on others and therefore would like to take this opportunity to apologize for my conduct and urge everyone to show compassion and support towards victims and their families throughout the moised [institution] and broader community.”

Telsner had been under mounting pressure to resign following his testimony in February at the Royal Commission, a government inquiry into how Chabad responded to the child sex abuse scandal in Sydney and Melbourne.

During the hearing, Telsner was accused of orchestrating the shunning of whistleblowers and their families, having warned his flock against speaking to police or the media without the permission of a rabbi. He also claimed pedophiles and gays could be cured.

Last week, Telsner was embroiled in a heated exchange with a victim of child sexual abuse, which is understood to have triggered his resignation.

Manny Waks, the only Jewish victim in Australia to go public, posted Tuesday on Facebook, “Finally. The news we have all been awaiting … We feel vindicated. We feel that justice has prevailed.”

Telsner is the fourth rabbi to resign in the wake of the Royal Commission. Three men associated with Chabad in Sydney and Melbourne were convicted of child sex crimes dating back to the late 1980s.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to Foward. Have questions? Please email us at help@forward.com.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.