Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Yeshivah leaders step down 

FOUR members of Yeshivah Centre's committee of management (COM) have stepped down.

The Yeshivah Centre announced on Wednesday afternoon that former chairman Don Wolf, Chaim New, Yirmi Loebenstein and Sue Susskind have immediately resigned and Rabbi Shimshon Yurkowitz will "transition off the committee in the near future to take care of his community".

The resignations came after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse highlighted serious failings in management and accountability. Despite complaints from students and parents relating to now-convicted abusers David Cyprus and David Kramer, who both worked at Yeshivah College, appropriate action was not taken and the police were not informed.

Rabbi Avrohom Glick – who was principal of Yeshivah College from 1986-2007, during which time there were a number of incidents of child sexual abuse – resigned from all ­leadership positions at the Yeshivah Centre last month.

"We (the COM) regret that we find ourselves in a position where the good name of the Centre is under threat and confidence has been diminished," the COM said in the statement to the community. "We wish it were otherwise. We want to reassure everyone that we are committed to making the Centre and our school better, stronger, and more transparent.

"As we focus on the ongoing operational performance of the school, we are committed to the initiatives above and will communicate regularly on progress. Together these actions provide the basis for continued success."

The Yeshivah Centre will establish an independent committee to develop and implement a scheme to respond to the needs of victims of abuse in the coming weeks. It will also commence a consultation with parents and others in the community on the operations and performance of the school, and will commence an independent review of the governance arrangements of the Centre, including the transparency of the committee.

Merv Adler, Michael Goldhirsch, Chaim Raitman, Shlomo Werdiger and Rabbi Yurkowitz remain on the COM. No new chairman has been selected to replace Wolf.

Though he welcomed the resignations, a victim of Cyprys known at the Royal Commission as AVB called for the entire COM to stand down. "All remaining members of the committee of management must now also resign from their roles to allow the healing to begin and for the community to undertake the soul-searching which is yet to but needs to happen.

"The trustees of the Yeshivah Centre who appointed and were ultimately responsible for the committee of management throughout the period must also resign."

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