Sexual abuse by two rabbinic brothers suspected at Be’er Yehuda Yeshiva in Jerusalem

Jewish men study in a yeshiva. (credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

Jewish men study in a yeshiva. (credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

Source: The Jerusaelm Post

Rabbinical court of haredi rabbis rules that rabbis Yitzhak Tufik and Moshe Tufik committed ‘severe and obscene transgressions’ against their students

By JEREMY SHARON Published: AUGUST 29, 2021 21:16

A special rabbinical court convened by five prominent haredi (ultra-Orthodox) rabbis has ruled that two brothers who are deans of a prominent yeshiva in Jerusalem sexually abused their students for years, and have forbidden parents from sending their sons to the institution.

The court said that “severe and obscene transgressions” had been committed by Rabbi Yitzhak Tufik, dean of the Be’er Yehudah Yeshiva in the Sanhedria neighborhood of Jerusalem, and his brother, Rabbi Moshe Tufik, dean of the Be’er Yehudah “yeshiva ketana” for high-school pupils.

The Tufik brothers are the sons of the well-known haredi Rabbi Eliyahu Tufik, senior dean of the Be’er Yehuda Yeshiva institutions. He is not implicated in the alleged sexual abuse.

One of the rabbis who sat on the special rabbinical court confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that the “obscene transgressions” do indeed refer to severe sexual abuse by the rabbis against their pupils.

The rabbi said that the rabbinical court had heard directly from the alleged victims of the Tufik brothers.

An official at Be’er Yehudah Yeshiva said the institution and the rabbis had no comment on the ruling of the rabbinical court.

Police are conducting an ongoing investigation into the allegations.

The rabbinical court also recommended that victims of the rabbis file a complaint with police for the abuse they may have suffered at their hands.

The special rabbinical court was convened by noted haredi figure Rabbi Yaakov Peretz, with rabbis Aharon Yarhi, Reuven Nakar, Aharon Boaron and Zvulun Peretz also serving on the court.

Rabbi Tzion Boaron, another senior rabbi who previously investigated the Tufik rabbis, appended his name to the court’s decision as well.

The court issued its decision on August 1, but had waited to publicize it.

Rabbi Yaakov Peretz had previously established a special court in 2019 regarding Be’er Yehuda and the Tufik brothers, and made similar recommendations, including warning parents not to send their children to the yeshiva.

But the ruling was never published after Yitzhak Tufik committed in a signed letter, seen by the Post, to never repeat the sexual abuse he was accused of doing. It was co-signed by his father, Eliyahu Tufik.

In their new ruling, the rabbis of Peretz’s rabbinical court said they had reached their decision “after receiving testimony, taking advice, and a thorough investigation.”

The rabbinical court ruled that Rabbi Yitzhak Tufik and Rabbi Moshe Tufik “constitute a severe danger to the yeshiva students,” and that “dozens of students over several years have been severely harmed by them through severe and obscene transgressions that should not be put down in writing.”

They added that “even at this time these severe deeds are continuing,” and ruled Yitzhak and Moshe Tufik were prohibited from having any contact whatsoever with youths.

The rabbis noted the previous, unpublished ruling and the instructions to the Tufik brothers that they refrain from contact with yeshiva students, and said that from their latest investigations it had become clear that these instructions had been ignored.

“It is utterly forbidden to send yeshiva students to the Be’er Yehudah Yeshivot and those who assist in registering students there, and all the more so those who assist in attempts to cover up the facts, are guilty of a sin too heavy to bear, because they bear the sins of many in taking kosher students down to the nethermost pit,” wrote the rabbis. “Since rabbinical court in our days has no enforcement ability in these matters, the rabbinical court permits and even recommends every student who was harmed by the staff of the yeshivas mentioned to file complaints with the police, and speedily.”

The rabbis noted that since their previous instructions on the issue to the Tufik rabbis were ignored, the rabbinical court was “compelled to publish their ruling in public.”

“This is an ongoing investigation and therefore it is not possible to go into details,” a police spokesman said. “We will continue to thoroughly and professionally investigate the incident in order that justice is done for those involved.”