Malka Leifer
Malka LeiferReuters

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, Director of the Tzohar Center for Jewish Ethics and a Founder of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization in Israel, reacted to the sentencing of the former principal of the Adass Israel School in Melbourne, Australia, Malka Leifer, to 15 years in prison for sexual abuse.

"The decision reached by the Australian court today handing down a heavy sentence on Malka Leifer should be recognized as an important milestone in the effort to defend victims of sexual abuse in our society," Rabbi Cherlow stated.

"A critical aspect of the rehabilitation process for any victims is knowing that their speaking out has not been in vain and, that their claims have been recognized and justified, and that the relevant authorities agree to the severity of the crimes committed against them. Most importantly, these judicial decisions provide the legal backing to show that the victims were indeed victimized and need to feel no sense of guilt or insecurity for speaking out," he added.

He concluded: "Our sincere hope is that this ruling will contribute to allowing Leifer’s victims to feel a greater sense that their lives can be rehabilitated as much as possible and allow for better days ahead.

This decision should also act as a wakeup call to all those who acted, either publicly or privately, to sabotage efforts to bring Leifer to justice, and all those individuals should be required to ask forgiveness of her victims. It is more imperative than ever that we use this painful episode to increase our efforts to stand in support of victims in a way that reflects Torah values and basic human morality."