Sydney Beth Din: Mesirah not applicable in Australia

Published on J-Wire

Sydney’s Beth Din has stated that the practice of banning Jews from informing on a fellow Jew is not applicable in matters relating to criminal law in Western democracies.

Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, The Sydney’s Beth Din statement issued by Rabbo Moshe Gutnick states: “In response to recent media reports suggesting otherwise, and in line with the standing rulings of all the Australian Jewish Ecclesiastical courts, the Sydney Beth Din wishes once again to make clear that the concept of mesirah – where traditionally it was forbidden to inform on a fellow Jew to the secular authorities  – does not apply in the context of the criminal law of western democracies such as Australia, where such criminal codes justly protect all citizens from harm. Indeed to the contrary, there is a religious obligation to inform the relevant authorities of all information known concerning possible harmful criminal conduct, especially conduct as serious as child sexual abuse, and to co-operate with the authorities in every way to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The statement follows the appearance this week of solicitor Alex Lewenberg this week before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal at which the Legal Services Commissioner is seeking to find Lewenberg guilty of misconduct for “disgraceful and dishonourable” comments according to a report in  The Australian newspaper. Lewenberg is reported to have rebuked a victim of child sexual abuse for helping police in a case involving his client David Cyprys who is currently serving a prison sentence having been found guilty of child sexual abuse.

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