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This Week: What do you Think?

July 25, 2013 – 8:57 pm17 Comments

From the editor:

david kramer2Convicted paedophile, David Kramer, could be free in three months. Do you think the sentence is appropriate? Do you think Yeshiva has handled the sexual abuse issue well? If not, what do you think it could have done better?

Meanwhile, a number of key Jewish organisations have come together to offer community groups a free seminar on dealing with allegations of child abuse. Do you think this is a positive move on their part? Do you think there is a duplication of resources, considering the work Tzedek is doing?

Israel’s new Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, David Lau says, “I am everyone’s rabbi – I do not belong to one sector or another, but to all of Israel.” Do  you believe this to be the case? Haaretz certainly doesn’t. Do you feel that non-Orthodox streams of Judaism will fare well under his rabbinate? Can one Orthodox rabbi effectively represent every Ashkenazi Jew?

The Jewish Daily Forward examines the problematic nature of Pope John Paul II’s friendship with the Jews. Do you believe there is space in Catholicism for an unambivalent acceptance of Jews? Can we ever be truly reconciled with Rome?

Two young Chicago Jews write about the importance of Jews’ combating anti-Muslim bigotry. What do you think our responsibility is in this arena? Do Australian Jews do enough in fighting racism beyond anti-Semitism?

Pick of Seek and You Shall Find: Michael Ess discusses the inauthenticity of Haredi Judaism and asks – among other things – whether Modern Orthodoxy should distance itself from more extreme forms of our religion. What do you think?

Hat tip to commenter, Letters in The Age: Jewish ethicist, Leslie Cannold, may become a Senator if Julian Assange is elected but unable to return to Australia. See the comments section for more details.


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  • letters in the age says:

    May i comment on Dr Leslie Cannold here with news of the week??

    She is standing as a candidate for the senate with Assanges party.

    Congrats to her and for some diversity in politics.

    Whatever one thinks of Mr Assange, good to see some new voices in the political discourse.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    I hope Tzedek keeps up the good work.

    Whether or not others replicate or follow them in their quest for justice, the Kramer case demonstrates the importance of standing up and being heard.

    Tzedek have changed the community reality to provide a voice for victims and whether sentences are long enough or not, they must be celebrated for getting the conviction! Chazak veematz Tzedek!

    Yeshiva will in the end not be judged for what it did in the past any more or less than other institutions . But it will be judged with great scrutiny for its reaction now that this conviction is unquestionably proven and the flaws highlighted.

    Systemic or individual denial or injustice from this precedent in future cases will be clearly seen criminally negligent thanks to this conviction! And all our kids are safer for it!

  • Letters, yes: you can post news relevant to the community in this thread and I’ve updated the post to include the information about Jewish ethicist, Leslie Cannold. Thanks for that!

    From the SMH: “‘[Julian Assange] talked about wanting to be back in Australia to take up his seat. He was hopeful that that would occur,’ said Ms Cross.

    ‘If it doesn’t, the party will nominate a running mate, which is Leslie Cannold.’

    In the event of a vacancy, Senate rules allow the seat to be filled by a member of the same party, unlike in the House of Representatives, where a byelection is required.”

  • Nathan says:

    With regards to the Kramer case the Yeshivah has issued a number of statements with regards to how their policy and actions have changed from 20 years ago. More importantly than policy statements they have been actively ensuring that abuse does not happen again.

    Unfortunately Tzedek has its own agenda and, as a private group, there is no accountability. Manny Waks has his own agenda especially with regards to Yeshivah which, in the circumstances, is understandable but does not benefit the resolution of these issues.

    It is laudable that the community and community institutions now recognise how dangerous it is to allow abuse to go unchecked and are attempting to rectify past wrongs and mistakes.

  • The “could be free in three months” headline is sensationalist nonsense. Kramer was deported from the US and went straight to custody and has been there ever since. He doesn’t have a visa that allows him to live here while on parole, and victims will surely oppose any early release (if he even tries). So the mostly likely outcome is he will serve the full term, and go immediately from prison to the airport.

    While it’s difficult to speculate on what really happened 20 years ago (especially when we only hear part of the story, and when a key person involved is no longer with us), the Yeshivah Centre has handled the situation over the last 2-3 years very poorly. However, the statement from principal Rabbi Smukler was a notable departure and a welcome shift from the typical way things have been handled in the past.

  • Manny Waks says:

    For Tzedek’s full statements in response to Kramer’s sentencing, Yeshivah’s apology and the harrowing Victim Impact Statement:





    Regarding the parole period, I can confirm that it seems highly likely that Kramer will be deported to Israel within a few months. If he maintains his good behaviour in prison he will be deported immediately upon concluding his minimum sentence (within a few months). This is based on information from the Prosecution.

  • letters in the age says:

    Thanks Alex…et al!!

    Might be an idea to get her to write for Galus maybe…

    #Food for thought


  • Edith says:


    “While it’s difficult to speculate on what really happened 20 years ago” – what absolute rubbish. There was a cover-up. Not very complicated David.

    Rabbi Smuckler’s comments are very nice but at the end of the day, if a frum person wants to go to the police and make a statement about abuse, he will probably ask his Rov if it’s ok to do so and not the school principal.

    What is needed is Rabbi Telsner to unequivocally state in writing that it is not mesirah to go to the police. Really not complicated.

    And judging by what happened to Mrs M Leifer, that pask may never come.

  • Reallity Check says:

    Why would you want to say anything David Werdiger. But Leslie Connald, who is a child psychologist, joining Assange’s party when he is facing sex charges in Sweden, is a bit of a surprise.

  • Reallity Check says:

    Sorry, Dr. Canold is not a pyschologist but an ethicist and I apologise for spelling her name wrong. But I am still surprised.

  • letters in the age says:


    Take a look here at her link!!


    Why the surprise??

    She gives the’movement’ credibility.

    #food for thought

  • issac brott says:

    I find the whole episode ,as far as the Yeshivah is concerned, as somewhat of an aberration.Lengthy moralistic dissertations,judgements and condemnations certainly have a place but that place is usually at the conclusion when all the facts are known and certainly all the facts are not known as yet.All the dynamics have not been disclosed yet the hysterical lynch mobs are at the door of the jailhouse desecrating the graves of the dead and ready to hoist up the still living.Who was on the committee controlling the yeshivah at the time?What did they know?What decisions and motions did they make and carry?What exactly was paid for Kramer to leave the country and to what purpose…was it a price of a ticket or a more substantive ‘payoff’?Where did the funds come from?Who was head of the executive at the time?Should they have known better?Who was at the apex of this abomination?As a former student of the Yeshivah I don’t accept that cowardice and convenience should be the arbiter of where guilt lies.Full and comprehensive disclosure is required as I suspect that those who are the culprits of silence have not yet been identified…

  • Reallity Check says:

    Actually Mrs Letters after reading more about Dr Connard she is perfect for Assange’s party, but it has nothing to do with credibility.
    Any food for thought there is chicken feed.

  • Reallity Check says:

    Interesting, Mrs Letters; Dr Cannold being a advocate for women’s rights, but what about the rights of the two girls in Sweden who ellege they were taken advantage of by her leader?

  • letters in the age says:


    More on Ms Cannold..

    Reality, this one may be to your liking especially the comments section

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