Jewish community condemns rabbi’s “gay cure”, paedophilia comments

Jewish community condemns rabbi’s “gay cure”, paedophilia comments

COMMENTS made by a senior rabbi linking homosexuality and paedophilia, and claiming homosexuality could be “cured” have been condemned by Victoria’s Jewish community.

Head of Melbourne’s Yeshivah Centre Rabbi Zvi Telsner told the current royal commission into child abuse last week he believes gay people could be cured “through therapy”, just as he believed the same to be true of paedophiles.

In a statement today, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) called Telsner “out of line and out of touch with the community”.

“This is repulsive, ignorant and insulting, demonstrating a serious departure from the views of the mainstream Jewish community,” it said.

“Rabbi Telsner also linked paedophilia and homosexuality in his testimony. Any such linking is disturbing and indeed toxic. Those comments are poisonous to people of diverse sexual preference, their families and friends.”

Jewish LGBTI youth organisation Aleph Melbourne praised the JCCV’s response, and called on Orthodox rabbis to follow the example of other Jewish communities.

“I welcome a strong statement from the JCCV distancing calls from within the Orthodox rabbinate that homosexuality can be cured along with any misguided notion that it is, in any way, aligned with paedophilia,” said convenor Michael Barnett.

“Rather than victimise people with diverse sexual orientation and/or gender identity, these Orthodox rabbis could look to their peers in the Progressive and Conservative Jewish communities, who are actively acknowledging and affirming these people.”

“The people they victimise have committed no crime and do not deserve their contempt and ignorance.”

Telsner’s testimony was part of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse’s examination of how Jewish schools in Melbourne and Sydney have responded to allegations of child sexual abuse dating back to the 1980s.

The JCCV has made significant steps towards addressing homophobia in the state’s Jewish community over the past 18 months, including signing up to the No to Homophobia campaign and receiving a HEY Grant for a project to reduce abuse, harassment and intolerance of LGBTI people in the Jewish community.

(Image credit: ABC News)

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2 responses to “Jewish community condemns rabbi’s “gay cure”, paedophilia comments”

  1. Dear Eliana,

    Are you commenting in your professional capacity as a dentist here?

    If so, can you please explain what relevant training and experience you have had to discuss human sexuality?

    I would be really glad to understand where you are coming from on this topic, as you are so keen to flash your professional credentials.

    Michael Barnett.

  2. I am appalled by the vicious and totally un-Jewish statement of JCCV about Rabbi Zvi Telsner’s very true statements about paedophilia/homosexuality at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse . Of course any behaviour can be cured as long as the person is willing to be cured, what is called in the Holy Torah “t’shuva” or “return”. Both paedophilia with y0ung boys and homosexuality are not proper conduct as given at Har Sinai, but it is also written in the Holy Torah that people cannot be judged or punished using vigilante justice or bullying but that they are to be judged in a proper court operating according to the Seven Noachide Laws if judged in the courts of the nations of the world. It is patently obvious that Rabbi Telsner loves all people and does not want to see them mislead, therefore gave the “secret” of t’shuva, a very open secret. In fact the person who wants to change their behaviour can do it all on his/her own, even without counselling. How dare JCCV label this “homophobia”? There is no punishment in what Rabbi Telsner said, only real love for fellow human beings. How dare JCCV call itself Jewish? They in no way at all represent any Jewish people at all. On behalf of the Jewish Australian community I ask that you, JCCV, please disband. You DO NOT have all Jewish people’s interests at heart.