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It’s time: Why Manny Should Step Down and an Apology to Zephania Waks.

December 22, 2013 – 2:39 pm117 Comments

By Alex Fein:

fresh start2The Yeshiva abuse story has exposed the ugliest elements of our community. Victim blaming and accusations of mesirah compete with the most horrible rumours of who is a paedophile and who is a victim.

People from each camp seem to be participating in a horrific game of one upmanship: points are scored and lost and there are those from either side – supporters of Yeshiva versus supporters of Manny Waks – who will crow at the misfortunes of the other.

Personally, I have been privy to much information – from people in both camps – that I simply should not know. I was made aware months before it became public knowledge that it was Rabbi Glick who stood accused of the bimah rape. At the time, this was nothing more than the propagation of vicious rumour.

I have been given the names of victims who have not come forward publicly – at least one of whom most certainly does not wish to be identified. This man told someone about his abuse for the first time and in the strictest confidence.  This man’s story was subsequently told to me by the person who was supposed to maintain that confidence.

This man was horribly betrayed for no good reason. I was also made aware of the person who supposedly perpetrated the abuse against that man. The accused is now deceased and his name is potentially circulating through the rumour mill.

I know the name of a very vulnerable man who is also making accusations. I should not know his name, but he too is grist for that ugly mill. There is much more – a sickening trove of innuendo and unsubstantiated information.

This is toxic. Cruelty and callousness have enveloped our community. This poisonous environment can not be one that is conducive to victims coming forward.

In 2011 Manny Waks did something incredibly courageous. He spoke out publicly. After years of being given the runaround by Yeshiva, he felt compelled to take action that would force Yeshiva’s hand. A huge cultural shift ensued. The new culture of child safety that Yeshiva has now embraced came about in large part due to Manny Waks’s advocacy.

In 2011, Manny spoke to The Age about his experiences. This infuriated Yeshivah members and supporters who saw this as a betrayal; however, Manny had tried numerous other avenues, seeking redress and was rebuffed at every turn. That initial Age  interview – and Manny’s tireless work afterwards – forced a crucial shift. Our children will be safer because of it. This alone is sufficient reason to thank Manny.

Manny also established Tzedek. It’s no small thing to set up a communal institution from scratch. We now have a body that is devoted to the safety of our children and we must thank Manny for this as well.

Many are furious with Manny because they believe he has a vendetta against Yeshiva. Whether he does or doesn’t is immaterial. Manny is entitled to seek redress from an institution that was supposed to protect him and failed to do so.

So why am I calling for Manny to step down?

There are four primary reasons:

1) The initial work of exposing and changing a problematic culture has been completed and Manny’s presence may no longer facilitate positive outcomes in certain sectors.

Yeshivah has implemented numerous policies and safeguards as have other schools and communal institutions. As a community our awareness has been well and truly raised.

Unfortunately, because of the extreme animus between Manny’s camp and those opposed to him, Manny’s continued involvement with Tzedek can only serve to detract from the organisation’s focus.

2) While the initial blaze of publicity was crucial in encouraging victims to come forward, many people I’ve spoken to recently now worry that the environment has become so adversarial and so toxic, that any remaining victims who have not yet come forward may be reluctant to do so lest they be caught up in the extreme nastiness that characterises the current discourse.

3) We can not know why 5 Tedek board members resigned within 4 weeks. It may be coincidence, or it may indicate profound problems with the organisation’s management. Whatever the reason, many people in the community perceive these resignations as evidence that Tzedek isn’t working. That perception is deeply problematic: Tzedek needs to appear rock solid and not mired in controversy if it is going to feel like a safe place for victims.

4) The community needs a circuit breaker. We’ve become obsessed with the fight between the Manny and Yeshivah camps. It dominates conversation and it’s deeply unhealthy. We’re not discussing ways to keep our children safe: we’re discussing rumours and the very worst aspects of our community quite compulsively. This detracts from the crucial conversations our community needs to be having. Discussion of continuity, generational change, engagement, education, and of course, child safety, have receded. These issues need to be front and centre in order for our community to begin the process of repairing itself.

***

The Apology

Galus Australis and Alex Fein unreservedly apologise to Zephania Waks for any offense caused to him by a comment made by an anonymous reader on December 5 2013.

We have since changed our moderation policy to one of pre-moderation in order to ensure no defamatory material is posted.

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117 Comments »

  • Philip Mendes says:

    Alex: some interesting and constructive points you make. As a former child protection worker, I have observed this debate with interest from the sidelines. It seems to me that a lot of people have got involved who don’t really understand the issues and impact of child abuse and neglect, and particularly the long-term implications. This includes many with very good intentions in a number of communal organisations. The same thing has happened with the broader Royal Commission including a number of Parliamentarians who have expressed shock at what they heard. Maybe to them, maybe not to those of us who have worked in the area. There may be worse to come.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    Alex: I don’t disagree with your points, but does Tzedek actually exist in a meaningful way without Manny?

    Incidentally, no comments at all are showing up on some of the other threads. Is something broken?

  • Avigael says:

    Unfathomable. I will not be surprised at all to see this modern day Sodom destroyed. The community response is disgusting.

  • Raph says:

    I largely agree with this piece. There are (fortunately) now many safeguards for protecting children, especially at the Yeshivah.

    [Content removed]. Witness the constant stream of one-sided articles that he gets published by The Age. This Saturday’s article did not even mention the pending defamation suit against Mr Waks (and I believe that more defamation suits are forthcoming). On legal grounds, the case against Mr Waks is very strong.

    Ironically, the tabloid Herald-Sun shows more balance on the issue.

    On a different note:

    Galus Editor, why did you remove all the comments from the article about the Midsumma gay festival at Temple Beth Israel?

    If someone posts an offensive comment, just remove that particular comment. Did somebody from the Reform shule contact you and ask you to remove all the comments?

  • Galus Australis says:

    Hi all.

    Comments on all threads – other than the GLBT and Reform piece – have been closed while they’re double checked for anything problematic. They’ll be back up soon.

    Thanks for your patience.

  • issac brott says:

    Dearest Alex….don’t let the pygmies intimidate you….none of them have a skerret of a case.When they enter the public forum they can shake,shimmer and wine at will….’valenti non fit injuria…whatever cloud they lived beneath before their pathetic threats can be equated to a primitive rain dance with the shaking and shimmering and demented gesticulations steadily escalating to a point of self induced primordial orgasmic relief…..I hope they feel better!As for evaluation of my emails please advise the evaluator that he/she can ‘stick it’ but beware they are intentionally peppered and fiery for just that contingency.
    Keep hammering away…maybe you have done more for the community than any of our self appointed ego pygmy ‘leaders’ ever have.Frankly apart from thieving from the community,providing forums and podiums for self elevation ,massive public demonstrations of narcissistic self promotion and inarticulate verbal copulation with their fellow potses they really have done little.They are not and have never been the cali bre of the mension of the past…[content removed]
    You Alex are providing a forum and transparency that focuses the light on the crevices that these reprobates are huddled within with their like minded shleppers,miscreants and losers.
    See Alex where there is light there is no escape….the light is shining ….jewish children have been violated…and not a peep from an authoritative voice in the community…..’where have all the leaders gone’ [good title for a song,eh]….thats because our accolade,money grubbing moral morons,ethical eunuch leaders just don’t care….why else the silence?Has the cat got their tongue?Its enough to make you want to chunder.
    I thought Manny was awful dealing with the anti-Semitic wasps of Fairfax….But as time marches on I can understand any port in a storm and the worse the storm the greater the compulsion to seek out any port….The greater the need to survive and tell your story the more forgivable and fathomable that Wax found Fairfax a safe harbour.
    Lets all raise our glasses and wish Wax heaven sent discretion,an angel to protect him from the barbarians who have their hand around the throat of the Hotham Street franchise and the blessing of continued perseverance and determination.

  • Ilana Leeds says:

    B’H
    Interesting that you have called for Manny’s resignation from Tzedek. While I see some benefit in what Manny has done, it is much of his method that I disagree with.
    I think he still had an important role to play in helping people deal with their abuse as a child. I think he could have done enormous good in running workshops and the like for teachers, parents and for students to prevent abuse and still can.
    Whether he wishes to relinquish his media spotlight and take on a more pedestrian role in healing the victims is yet to be seen. I for one am prepared to overlook his very public abuse of me on FB with his cronies who got quite vindictive and slanderous and I hope others can too.
    Why because Manny and others have been the victims in this and they have been disempowered and used and then discarded. Manny effectively for a while empowered the victims but got carried away [content removed].
    What happened was shocking and it needs to be dealt with in a way that is both serious and healing. Many in the community have been ripped apart and many innocent bystanders have been brutalized.
    I still feel for Manny Waks and victims like him. The damage done to them is phenomenal. Healing enough to speak out takes years. He however, has become another victim of his own making and many saw it coming. [content removed]. There is no going back as the waters are too turbulent and swift.
    The college has moved with the times and has taken measures apparently to prevent any such reoccurrence. However, a word of warning, abuse cases being badly dealt with are not just the prerogative of private Jewish schools. Unfortunately abuse cases have been handled in big private schools and some public schools, very badly for the victims. You never hear too much about it. It is some times not in the best interests of the victims to speak out both from a point of view of personal shame and embarrassment as well as the confusion and anguish caused by ‘everyone knowing something happened.’ It is more for the victim’s sake than to protect the perpetrator. Remember that.

  • Sunshine says:

    FYI there were at least two of those workshops run this year as advertised in Jewish news!

    Secondly…… Manny or anyone else would receive the same treatment by the Yeshiva community and perhaps others.

    Opening up this can of worms destroyed the very public image that Yeshiva wanted to create.

    However, perhaps all these leaders need to step down to start again. Yeshivas included.

    Lastly, it is well known that Yeshiva and other groups have improved their approach, but it’s not quite there yet.

    At the end of the day this all started when molesters were enabled. Until the enablers step down too nothing changes.

    In this process I too have been defamed. Not under this name but my real one.

    Any law suit which I have investigated will do nothing more than line the pockets I lawyers and waste time addressing real issues.

    This community spends so much time talking badly about each other on every issue it’s a wonder we don’t spend our lives in court. MOVE ON

  • Sunshine says:

    I am wondering if any commentators have been or had a child who was abused in anyway?

    I have.

    May I say that 11 years later we still have no day that goes by without wondering if he will
    Choose to take his life.

    This will be ours and his as he navigates his way through life knowing an institution knowingly chose to do nothing.

    Manny Waks could step down, but the supporters of protection of an image rather than a child will attack anyone who dares show up these institutions for what they are.

    They talk about not generalising but generally I am yet to hear from my institution or theirs a single word on the damage they caused or any specific apology and denouncing of the “leaders” who allowed this to continue, in case G-d forbid anyone sees Jews for what they really are….. NORMAL!

    G-ds chosen people have made our lives hell just as they did to so many.

    But the arrogance of these people meant today and tomorrow families just like ours will live this hell forever.

    Please don’t judge the children and their families unless you have walked in their shoes, lives their lives and in so many cases buried their children.

    Tzedek has made us look at this differently. Today for the first time we believe if we take action there may finally be hope.

  • J Goldberg says:

    AVIGAEL,

    I cannot believe that someone with such a sweet and holy name can have so much sinat chinam bottled up inside them.

    In the past week or so you have displayed more violations of every single page and line of “Shmirat Halashon” than, i believe, anyone who cares about the mesorah has shown in a long time.

    Very sad.

    J Goldberg.

  • Whatever Was says:

    Sunshine,
    The problem here is that there are two debates, one about the allegations of sexual abuse, and the second about Manny. Unfortunately the second is the one being debated in the community. This is harmful. Therefore I agree with you that all individuals involved should step down and have a fresh start. Both YC and Tzedek.

  • Amazed says:

    I did like your comments Alex.
    It was well thought out and I am sure that you wanted to diffuse all that hatred and verbal abuse that was being posted by so many.
    well done.

  • WasThere says:

    The 2 line apology at the end of a thread dedicated to ending the great work that Manny is doing is outright chutzpa…

    A meaningful apology should be a little longer and surely deserved it’s own thread…..

    Also worth to note that the “4 board members resigned” story which Tzedeck told us is not true has now grown to “5 board members”….

  • Jenny says:

    I’m pretty gobsmacked by this.

    As someone outside of the Orthodox community, I really can’t believe that the answer to this situation doesn’t lie with the actual perpetrators of the abuse and those who excuse and cover up their actions (and boy have these threads been evidence of this) – but instead in blaming the person who has done the hard yards in forcing the community to take notice and actually do something about it. Or try to. Or refuse to, as the cases may be.

    But really, Galus – blaming the victim? No mention of Yeshivah people stepping down, but for the greater good Manny must fall on his word?

    Profoundly disappointing. Especially since it has become apparent that the greater part of your traffic comes from the slanging matches which result on the threads about issues of child abuse in the Orthodox community. It seems quite disingenuous to condemn the gossip and out of control slanging matches on one hand while fostering them with the other one.

    Either way, I think you have just lost a newly-reclaimed, still tentative reader here.

  • Ilana Leeds says:

    B’H
    The mature way to deal with wrong doing is with remorse and a firm resolve to work responsibly together to protect the children and to ensure that the sorts of mistakes made in the past do not happen again. I am rather horrified at the childishness of some comments that frame the other group as totally and utterly bad, therefore the whole caboddle has to be tipped into the metaphorical gutter of hopelessness.
    Growth entails a change of attitude and brings about different methodologies for dealing with abuse and ensuring that it does not happen in the future.
    It is the total devaluation of the ‘other’ that horrifies me. You are no better than the abusers when you totally take your side as the right side and the only side. There is wrong on both sides.
    And Sunshine, I have had a child assaulted and abused. I removed him from the school because they did little but report it and for the mental health of the child I removed him and I do know what you are talking about and the damage caused by assaults and bullying. They decided to treat him as though he was a half wit and his testimony was considered unreliable. I am not working and do not have the money to take this further so I must heal him best I can and try to move on. I understand the hatred generated against a victim only too well and the media manipulation of cases like these do not help healing. You are constantly not believed and set upon.
    What helps is for the those who did wrong to acknowledge their mistakes and work at rectification. It is more than a bandage attempt. It is long term process of healing the children and the institution that did not take adequate steps to prevent their abuse. We are all human and we can all act in retrospect, better than we can in the present. I hate the splintering of groups and the sinat am that is generated amongst members of the community. With a little bit of brotherly and sisterly love and compassion, we can move mountains and change outlooks for better. Let’s do it and forget the squabbling for a while and move on positively.

  • Whatever Was says:

    WasThere, who is talking about ending the work Manny is doing? If you read what was written it is about Manny resigning in order to advance the cause, rather than shutting down Tzedek and moving back to the bad old days.
    Although I agree with you that the apology should have been longer. At the very least it should have given the context of the bullying nature of the lawyer’s initial letter, and should also have included an apology to the other side who have also been mercilessly attacked by Manny’s supporters.
    But again the debate is rapidly becoming all about Manny and the apology to Manny, not about protecting the children.

  • Sunshine says:

    Whatever was…… The one argument wouldn’t be there without the other.

    Without Manny there is no change. Cyprus is still working at Yeshiva whilst ( name can’t be revealed because he’s under investigation) continues to cover his abuse.

    And it’s worth thinking about the fact that whomever ran Tzedek would be up against no less abuse.

    When Saddam Hussein was caught, no one criticised the govt for going to the media. When Adrian Bailey raped and murdered Jill Maegher the media were very involved and no one criticised them.

    It’s because it’s the Jewish population hiding behind the “we are perfect and don’t do this ” image that the people going to the media are abused.

    And if manny Waks hadn’t done things one way but another, he would have been criticised anyway.

    The criticism
    Is aimed to stop anyone getting at the truth. Methods are irrelevant as are the leaders of Tzedek.

    Believe me, I’ve been there.

  • Rishus says:

    Both parties here want to prevent child abuse. [content removed]

  • Whatever Was says:

    Really everyone should read what is being said rather than what they want to see.
    The article does not say that Manny’s actions are unappreciated or that he was not instrumental in prosecuting the case to this point.
    It does not call on the YC board to stand down because that is not the point of the article, and it should be a given that there should be mass resignations from YC.

    At the present moment the abuse topic is at the top of the communal agenda and we have 2 ways forward. The first is Manny’s path of Scorched Earth. The second is a more conciliatory path. It does not have to let the perpetrators off the hook or allow abuse to start up again. Tzedek will be there to hold the community to account and help victims. It just won’t be ripping the community apart (as it is at present).
    If those in Manny’s cheersquad would realise the damage being caused perhaps the damage being caused to the community could be limited.
    Dare I say it, the topic has morphed into Manny right or wrong, and many of those in that camp are opponents of the Israel right or wrong camp. Ironic.

  • Brad says:

    This, he did, she did, we did, just seems to go round and round in circles.

    I’m beginning to wonder if there is even a need for a Jewish advocacy service to begin with, more so one which is so embroiled in controversy.

    Looking at http://www.casa.org.au/ I have have serious doubts as to why communal money needs to be directed to an organisation which despite its high ideals seems to have lost it’s way. Possibly even it Tzedek was not mired in the controversy encircling it’s existence, what exactly does Tzedek have to offer which CASA does not? One major factor why CASA seems to be so appealing is that those administering the organisation are both intelligent enough and possess the professional foresight not to run personal Facebook pages which sadly brings out not the best in the community, rather the opposite.

    I suspect victims would feel more secure and comfortable under Casa’s guidance.

    Food for thought?

  • Ilana Leeds says:

    B’H
    Well you have lost this reader again for the last time. I do not like the twisted editing that goes on here and while I may not agree with things that Manny does, I believe in fairness and justice and find the hypocrisy of this quite astounding.
    Good bye for good.

  • Avigael says:

    J Goldberg you clearly do not understand at all what Sinat Chinam is, which is not surprising at all, as Australia is not a Torah Community and is not teaching Torah. I would recommend you learn Torah from a competent Israeli Rabbi. FYI here is a short youtube explaining what Sinat Chinam is and isnt – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOpKIbf60k0

    The Australian Community for a long time has suffered terribly under its leadership which is so accurately described above by Issac Brott, which is in fact a Min Cult that has nothing to do with Judaism. Unfortunately, anyone with any real Torah to understand this have been driven out of the community or left as they have no desire to be part of such Chilul HaShem, myself included. Anyone left who realises this, feels they have no power to do anything about it, so the carnage continues.

    My behaviour which you object to, is due to the total disgust and damage that has been done to so many by this Community of Evil, that no earthly court can compensate for. The Sages of Blessed Memory are very clear about how such a Community should be treated, and I can assure you, that were there a Sanhedrin operating today with authority, you would have been Harimed and the perpetrators put to death long ago. The people who support this diabolically insidious evil Leadership will suffer the consequences their leadership brings upon them.

    Its only a matter of time before your Reign of Terror comes to an end, and I look forward to HaShems correction of this.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    Is there anyone with an executive role at Yeshiva who had that authority twenty years ago? I have the impression that everyone from those days has either retired or is no longer in an executive position. Rabbi Glick, who has born the brunt of the criticism, was no longer a headmaster but a teacher – or so I understand.

  • Zees says:

    Rather than picking on the only person who spoke out (and btw, the major newspapers also published that slight mistake about the Rabbi G situation – wonder why no one choose to sue them) we ought to question the leadership of a morally corrupt institution who are still being entrusted with the care of children. Time for YC to change management. Their delayed responses and empty press releases have been an absolute disgrace. Manny is now their scapegoat, and if he’s happy to carry that burden and press on then more strength to him.

  • The Refo says:

    Avigail, if you want to make this an issue of haskafah and go as far as calling chabad “heretics” etc, thats your choice. But if you were going to mix this with the sexual abuse issue, then I would be very careful…after all the issue of sexual abuse and it’s cover up is prevelant everywhere – in jewish, non jewish and secualr communities around the world. Unfortunately, it’s even worse in israel than it is in Australia where even religious zionist communties – to which your Rabbi Dovid Bar Hayim is a part of – are not immune. Ironically, you made a recommendation for J Goldberg to learn torah from a competent isaeli rabbi…yet the views of this isaeli rabbi are not accepted by the competent rabbinical authorities of israel. All of his views are controversial and go against the mainstream. perhaps that’s why you are having trouble with shmirat haloshon? Why can only guess…

  • Brad says:

    Oh Avigael, no need to dramatise. You can assure us what the Sanhedrin would do? Very little I’m afraid.

    You see, there is a concept of Hasra’ah which needs to occur in a very specific format. Next, at least 2 kosher(and all that entails) eidim are also required (in certain instances one may suffice) If per some remote fluke all the above occurred as per the the statutory halacha requirements, the death penalty would not be a prescribed punishment. I’m not even sure if there is an incarceration punishment on the Sanhedrin statutes, other than very limited circumstances and for a very limited time. By the way, I’m simply making an observation re your Sanhedrin comment, nothing more.

  • Vivien Resofsky says:

    Alex I strongly disagree with your view that; “The initial work of exposing and changing a problematic culture has been completed and Manny’s presence may no longer facilitate positive outcomes in certain sectors.
    Your reason no 1
    Yeshivah has implemented numerous policies and safeguards as have other schools and communal institutions. As a community our awareness has been well and truly raised.

    Community awareness has been raised in Ultra Orthodox schools, but not necessarily in less religious schools. Many people believe that criminal child abuse is a problem of the Ultra Orthodox.

    The raising of community awareness does not necessarily mean that polices and safeguards of Yeshivah and other schools are good enough. I will firstly deal with Yeshivah’s policies.

    “Today, at Yeshivah College, we employ absolute best practice and we are vigilant in ensuring the safety of the most vulnerable members of our community – our children.” (Rabbi Yehoshua Shmukler J-Wire July 26, 2013: J-Wire Staff)

    It has been two years since the public exposure of child sexual abuse and non reporting by school authorities at Yeshivah College. School administrators are dealing with the consequences on the school of the child sexual abuse scandals, including reforming of the way in which children are protected at Yeshivah College. Principal of Yeshivah College, Rabbi Shmukler has taken the action of publicizing letters to reassure parents and the community. “Today, at Yeshivah College, we employ absolute best practice and we are vigilant in ensuring the safety of the most vulnerable members of our community – our children.” (J-Wire July 26, 2013: J-Wire Staff)

    Many accept Rabbi Shmukler’s assurances without checking. Parents of children who attend Yeshivah College should check for themselves. It is also important that correct information reaches the community.

    Rabbi Smukler tells us that the most effective approach to child protection is to utilize multiple perspectives including: “Robust policies and practices, highly effective staff training, student education, education for parents and community.”

    Each of these elements is involved and would require the patience of readers to digest a lot of detail to assess whether best practice has been implemented. For the sake of brevity, just one child protection measure – staff training will be discussed with the aim of assessing Rabbi Shmukler’s assertions that staff training at Yeshivah College is highly effective and best practice. “We prioritize child safety with best practice in relation to staff employment policies and training.” (J-Wire July 26, 2013)

    Rabbi Shmukler’s assertions sound very reassuring. Education and training are fundamental tools in reform.

    Best practice involves training volunteers.

    It would be best practice for volunteers whose duties require direct contact of children to be trained and screened as well as staff but Rabbi Shmukler does not mention training for volunteers.

    Volunteers require training for several reasons. Convicted offenders David Kramer and David Cyprus both worked as volunteers in the past. Mr Daniel Hayman was just arrested on charges of child sexual abuse allegations from more than 25 years ago at the Yeshivah Centre in Sydney. A police media release asserted that he was a volunteer supervisor at camps for Jewish children. (Latest Media Releases Man charged over alleged historical indecent assaults – Strike Force Bungo Tuesday, 05 November 2013).The Sydney Yeshivah Centre has said something else in relation to Mr Hayman’s status at the Centre. “Mr Hayman attended Yeshiva Synagogue to pray or for classes but was never an employee or teacher at the Yeshiva Centre. Any volunteer work that he offered Yeshiva did not include responsibility for children”. http://www.smh.com.au/national/daniel-hayman-charged-over-child-sex-at-bondis-jewish-yeshiva-centre-20131105-2wyl6.html#ixzz2jlbnWPDz.

    Research suggests: “Youth-serving organizations are often magnets for offenders seeking victims” (Abel & Harlow, 2001). A volunteer might stay away from an organisation that was alert and proactive in relation to preventing abuse due to the fear of getting caught.

    Best practice involves clear expectations of staff and volunteer behavior – set out in a code of conduct. Child protection may include procedures for reporting concerning behaviours of others.
    According to UK child protection organization, NSPCC , volunteers need to understand the school’s child protection policies. If you want to create a positive and safe environment for children in your school, it is vital to have clear guidelines or a code of conduct for all those involved: staff, volunteers, pupils and parents.

    It is essential that everyone involved in your school community knows what behavior is acceptable and what is not. When expectations are clear, individuals who are not adhering to this standard of practice can be challenged. It is important that your school has procedures in place for dealing with child protection concerns, disclosures or allegations in order to support staff/volunteers, young people and parents through the process of reporting any concerns.

    All sections of the school community need to be made aware, in an appropriate way, of the policy and procedures and their responsibilities. Paramount is the understanding that the safety and welfare of the child is the priority and that any concern about the behaviour of a member of staff or other adult working in school must be reported immediately.

    Best practice would provide education for office staff, so that they recognize the symptoms of child sexual abuse as well as know how to respond – according to the procedures outlined in the child protection policy. Best practice relies on adults in the environment of children being prepared and willing to respond to a child needing help.

    JustTell is an organization that aims to empower children to speak up about child sexual abuse. It describes the benefits of adults responding responsibly to child sexual abuse. “JustTell envisions a world in which children who are molested immediately turn to a trusted adult figure in their lives and tell them of the abuse. That trusted adult has information to help the child though the next steps so that the abuse is stopped and the abuser is prevented from harming other children. In our vision, children do not have to bear the scars of unrevealed and repeated abuse, the consequences of which have been repeatedly shown to include higher-than-average rates of: drug and alcohol abuse, self-destructive behaviors, guilt and shame.” (http://www.justtell.org/)

    Best practice involves transparency.

    Unfortunately it was not possible to learn more about training processes at Yeshivah College because the child protection policy is not freely available and Rabbi Shmukler does not make it available to all who request it. One of the problems in the past was Yeshivah’s lack of transparency in the way it dealt with child sexual abuse. In the interests of transparency it would be best practice for organisational policies, procedures and guidelines to be freely available.

    Helpline/support service.

    Best practice would be for an accredited agency to deliver this service.

    Rabbi Shmukler tells us that Yeshivah uses the resources, training and support offered by the JTAFV (Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence) & Sexual Assault. Taskforce members who deliver education to the community, at forums, gatherings and through articles in The Australian Jewish News and operate the helpline are volunteers who have no degree or equivalent in any field related to child protection.

    Most parents and concerned community members accept what they are told and don’t realize that the Taskforce volunteers are not qualified in child protection.

    Best practice involves professional expertise.

    The Taskforce tell us that with education, children can repel abusers. (AJN Tackling abuse head on: D. Wiener 21/9/12). It would be wonderful if children could repel abusers because you could teach them about child sexual abuse and then leave it to them. There would be no need to report abuse to Police and adults would not have to face the dilemma of reporting to authorities. It would solve a lot of problems for communities that need to change long standing cultural beliefs.

    It sounds good in theory. The only problem is that children can’t repel abusers. The Protecting our Vulnerable Children Inquiry Report (Feb 2012), weighed up all the worldwide research and evidence about the effectiveness of teaching children personal safety to prevent abuse. It accepted Finkelhor 2009 &Smallbone et al. 2008 “There is little convincing evidence for the effectiveness of these programs for preventing sexual abuse.”

    However, Ms D Wiener (Taskforce Chair) who has no child protection qualification disagrees. “We dispute the assertion that such a program (student education) fails to prevent abuse”. “We have empirical evidence of the effectiveness of such a tool.” (Tackling abuse head on: D Wiener, AJN 21/9/12). However, upon request, this evidence was not made available. The research of Finkelor and Smallbone et al is freely available. Assertions such as children can repel abusers would not be considered valid by Child Protection Inquiries unless the research underpinning the assertion was available and accepted as reputable. My submission to the recent Vic, Parliamentary Inquiry was one of the submissions that the Committee of the Inquiry accepted to inform Finding 13.3 of the Inquiry Report:
    Children should never be responsible for protecting themselves from the harm of criminal child abuse, and prevention approaches that target children should be focused on initiatives that build awareness.

    Our community has continued to be told that if you teach children about personal safety they will be able to prevent criminal child abuse. That is not correct. There is broad agreement amongst world experts that the burden of preventing abuse against those who are older and more powerful should not lie in the hands of children.

    Although it is helpful to teach children personal safety new 21st century abuse prevention programs are based on the belief that all adult members of society, share responsibility for the safety of children. Placing the protection of children on the collective responsibility requires equipping community members with knowledge and confidence to deal with criminal child abuse.
    The impacts of wrong assertion can be costly. A focus on empowering children to repel abusers removes the proper focus on adults and the ‘hard choices’ we all have to make when we see or suspect wrongdoing.
    There is an urgent need for comprehensive education to reach adults of the Jewish community. Effective child abuse prevention education involves, among other things, empowering us all to make the ‘hard choices’ when suspicions are aroused, as well as reducing opportunities for situation to enable abusers through appropriate institutional policies and procedures and lots more.
    Since 2006, The Taskforce has chosen not to implement a comprehensive community –wide education initiative that deals with all the elements of prevention. Let’s begin now.

    Rabbi Shmukler appears to accept that children can’t prevent abuse. He states: “We empower our students by training them in age appropriate protective behaviours and fostering resilience. Even so, it is always, and will always be the responsibility of the protective adults in their environment to ensure and uphold their safety.

    [content removed]

    A parent of Yeshivah College recently commented on Facebook in defense of Yeshivah’s initiatives. He made the following comment in relation to an educational gathering for parents: “And yes, the majority of the discussions were about PREVENTING abuse… i.e. educating your children, the school has programs of education…..” (He also referred to school child protection policies and procedures). (Manny Waks, Facebook Oct 10, 2102)

    Although The Taskforce assert that the way to combat abuse is to adopt a multi pronged approach, (AJN 21/9/12), if you teach the community that children can repel abusers it changes how we protect children. When we accept that children can’t protect themselves, protecting children from sexual abuse involves placing responsibility on adults, rather than placing the burden on children to protect themselves.

    This signals the acceptance that engagement of parents and communities are the critical elements for preventing abuse. The Taskforce have emphasized on educating Rabbis and their wives as well as educating children.

    Social worker Rachael Zimmerman (who runs the Chicago Jewish Community’s child protection program, Project Shield) focuses on educating the community and refers to community members as the most important advocates for child sexual abuse is the community.“

    “When someone has been victimized it is very hard to come forward. Most likely when someone comes forward it is not going to be to a professional, therapist, and hotline. Most likely it is going to be to a family member, teacher, a friend or someone close. In real life any of us can be called upon to help a child and that is why experts tell us that protecting children from sexual abuse is the responsibility of every adult.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG5mDz3FAVo)

    Best practice involves changing attitudes and belief that act as barriers to protection.
    Most of us fear responding to child sexual abuse, including teachers. That is one of the reasons why many incidents of abuse go unreported even when a child discloses or a person suspects abuse. (According to Victor Vieth, executive director of the National Child Protection Training Center at Winona State University, USA: “The problem we have is that most people most of the time won’t report abuse, no matter how clear the evidence is.” “People tell researchers. I don’t report because I’m not quite sure.” (http://www.youthtoday.org/view_article.cfm?article_id=5665)

    The acceptance that it is the responsibility of adults to protect children involves communities overcoming their own cultural or religious sensibilities that act as barriers to preventing or responding to abuse. History has shown that leaders of Ultra Jewish Orthodox communities struggle to report allegations or suspicions of child sexual abuse against a member of their own community to the Police. Then there are the culturally specific sensibilities such as the shidduch system.

    At a JCCV educational forum (August 2011), Taskforce member Sheiny New was the keynote speaker. She spoke about Jewish specific cultural issues that contribute to the problem of not reporting abuse. “Marriages are arranged through the shidduch system.” The first question asked: Is it a nice family? Sexual assault does not a nice family make.” Ms New asked the audience not to be judgmental. “If your brother had a choice between two girls – both lovely girls, but one had been raped six months ago who would you choose? Even if the girl who was raped is getting help and good support, which one would you choose?

    Ms New did not challenge this barrier to reporting. Other Ultra Orthodox advocates have. Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik, spoke at the Chicago Nefesh community education gathering about a mother whose son was severely molested by a teacher. The boy was very angry because he felt that his parents and community did very little in reacting to what had happened to him.

    The mother told Rabbi Soleveichik that at the time she had met with a group of Rabbi’s who told her that she had the legal right to go to the Police but they did not recommend that she do this. Rabbi Soleveichik asked the mother why she did not exercise this right and she told him that she has two daughters who would need shidduhim in the future. “This (shidduchim) has become the new weapon, implied threat, or what may be implied threat, that if you do not toe the line of the community your children’s shidduchim even years later will be affected.

    Is it realistic to expect community members and staff to report abuse if they are afraid of children being impacted negatively when it comes to their marriage prospects? Experts tell us that: “prevention of abuse involves changing those individual and community attitudes, beliefs and circumstances which allow the abuse to occur.’ (Hawkins, McDonald, Davison and Coy 1994).

    I don’t accept all Rabbi Shmukler’s reassurances. The change required does not occur overnight. It takes time, commitment and transparency. In addition, I believe that it takes leadership throughout communities to support victims and their families who are the champions of change.

    The above is my response to Alex’s reason no 1. but it is not complete I will soon post additional info about policies at Mt Scopus as well as comments in relations to reasons 2, 3 and 4.

    You might also like:

  • Ace says:

    Editor: this entire comment, if published, would get Galus slapped with a – well deserved – defamation suit. Do it again, and your account will be suspended.

  • Vivien Resofsky says:

    I believe that Manny and Tzedek have much more to do. Nothing changed in the past until Manny became involved and I don’t believe it will change in the future unless Manny is involved.

    Many people working at the coalface have known about child sexual abuse – years before Manny told the public about his experiences. Sadly it took Manny’s courage and actions for many victims to get the right help and for our children to begin to be better protected.
    I have tried for the last 7 years to draw attention to many issues that need to be addressed. By writing letters and talking to JCCV, The Taskforce and RCV leaders, I have failed.
    The Taskforce, RCV and JCCV have continued to ignore my concerns that our community is being misinformed, but the Committee for the recent parliamentary listened to what I had to say.
    The Taskforce tell us that with education, children can repel abusers. (AJN Tackling abuse head on: D. Wiener 21/9/12). It would be wonderful if children could repel abusers because you could teach them about child sexual abuse and then leave it to them. There would be no need to report abuse to Police and adults would not have to face the dilemma of reporting to authorities. It would solve a lot of problems for communities that need to change long standing cultural beliefs.
    My submission was one of the submissions that the Committee for the Parliamentray Inquiry accepted to inform Finding 13.3 – Children should never be responsible for protecting themselves from the harm of criminal child abuse, and prevention approaches that target children should be focused on initiatives that build awareness”

    However, Ms D Wiener (Taskforce Chair) “We have empirical evidence of the effectiveness of such a tool.” (Tackling abuse head on: D Wiener, AJN 21/9/12). However, upon request, this evidence was not made available. The research of other worldwide and accepted experts such as Finkelor and Smallbone et al is freely available and their findings would not be accepted unless they were freely available.
    IF The Taskforce assert to have implemented community education, it has not been comprehensive, widespread (has not reached the majority of the community) and not evaluated to work.
    I have tried for the last 7 years to draw attention to many issues that need to be addressed.
    Please see my complaint to the JCCV plenum, that did not achieve any change.
    Complaint – JCCV Plenum, August 6, 2012
    In 2006 The Jewish Taskforce Against family Violence (The Taskforce) took the lead role in responding to child sexual abuse in the Melbourne Jewish Community. Their polices and subsequent response excluded vital elements.
    In 2008 and 2011 I complained formally to the JCCV. The JCCV did not take direct action as a result of my complaints.
    In 2008 I raised the issue of the missing gaps with Jewish Care. No action.
    In 2006 an executive member of the Taskforce asked The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) to withdraw from a community awareness and education initiative. At that time, The NCJW and Jewish Care worked collaboratively to deliver certain programs.
    The actions of the Taskforce had lead to virtual monopoly and final say in policy.
    There are several concerns about their work. However my complaint is in relation to our key organizations apparently following policies of another organization due to affiliations and connections with each other.
    What can be done to change this?

  • Vivien Resofsky says:

    Alex your second reason for Manny not to continue his involvement with Tzedek was “While the initial blaze of publicity was crucial in encouraging victims to come forward, many people I’ve spoken to recently now worry that the environment has become so adversarial and so toxic, that any remaining victims who have not yet come forward may be reluctant to do so lest they be caught up in the extreme nastiness that characterises the current discourse.
    I strongly disagree with your assertion here. I believe that Manny was only able to encourage adults who were abused as children to come forward.
    From the outset of the publicity, I have said that children being abused now would fear disclosing, given the way some in the Yeshivah community have acted towards Manny and his family. Can you imagine how frightening for a child to come forward now?
    I believe that if Manny did not continue in his role with Tzedek, the message for those who are currently being abused would be not to say anything – and victims would continue to be silenced.

  • Galus Australis says:

    Vivien: please do not post such long comments.

    You are welcome to write an article for us; however, comments must be kept relatively brief, otherwise they tend not to be read and create an unwieldy string.

    Thanks.

  • Whatever Was says:

    Vivien,
    “I believe that Manny and Tzedek have much more to do. Nothing changed in the past until Manny became involved and I don’t believe it will change in the future unless Manny is involved.”
    This cult of personality that has been built up by Manny’s supporters around him is highly damaging.
    This is not a zero sum game. Someone can have reservations about Manny’s current course of action without being a child rapist, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to the small circle of Manny supporters.
    Manny may have brought the topic into the public domain, but claiming that no one else is capable of creating this change is symptomatic of the damage that is currently being caused.

  • WasThere says:

    @Whatever Was…

    Tzedek with Manny at the helm will continue to do the much needed, long overdue work that they are doing…..
    With the help of the police, the courts, the media and the support of the Jewish community, not just in Melbourne but all over the world Manny will continue to push for change, see that perps from the past are prosecuted and will continue to provide support for other victims of child sexual abuse within our community….

    And the best part is that there is not a damn thing that you or any one else can do about it….

  • J Goldberg says:

    Vivien, Sunshine et al,

    You are all missing one GLARING point which in THIS specific case shines bright light on the motives and intent of TZEDEK and Manny Waks.

    Over TWO months ago, on October 7th, Tzedek posted on their website blog that they had gone to the police with the “victim” and had the specific information as to the content of the allegations. They apparently “peddled” this information to Galus Australis, and certainly to the AJN which ran stories about the allegations on October 10th 2013 and October 17th 2013 with lurid details from the victim who they state they interviewed.

    According to the Tzedek post, the allegations were made public for the following reason…. “The main reasons we have decided to make this allegation public is because this:

    (a) alleged perpetrator is currently teaching children; ” etc

    Yeshivah College responded in apparent outrage that if there were allegations or investigations into an active faculty member, they would stand them down and that they had contacted the Police to inquire about any active investigations into its active staff and were not given any information to the positive.

    So FOR TWO MONTHS, Tzedek, which CLAIMS to be working in the interest of children and victims, kept silent and DID NOT REPORT the information to the ONLY INSTITUTION that could have credibly removed the “accused” from his contact with children.

    FOR SHAME! FOR SHAME! FOR SHAME! On Tzedek and Manny.

    FOR SHAME! because you OBVIOUSLY did not care AT ALL about the safety and well-being of the children at Yeshivah and allowed an accused to continue working there, even AFTER Yeshivah PUBLICLY asked you to give them the information needed to make a decision about an apparently active staff member “under investigation”

    FOR SHAME! because you OBVIOUSLY do not believe the accusations yourselves at all or you WOULD have given the information to Yeshivah which COULD have made a difference, instead of peddling it around to the press at large!

    FOR SHAME! [content removed]

    I cannot see any way that Tzedek acted in good faith and in the interest of children in this case and that is MOST distressing.

    J Goldberg

  • Galus Australis says:

    Hi all.

    “Content removed,” indicates that something potentially defamatory has been edited out of the comment.

    As you can see from the variety of viewpoints expressed here, nothing is removed because it is critical of me or Galus, nor am I editing in a partisan fashion.

    Alex.

  • Whatever Was says:

    WasThere,
    Wow! You have outdone yourself. I am struggling under the weight of your delusion.
    So now Manny is going to save the whole world from child sex abuse, and nothing can stop him. He can also leap tall buildings in a single bound etc.
    We are so lucky to have him especially since there is no one else in the world who can work to prevent child sex abuse.

  • Avigael says:

    The Refo, I dont know where you get your info from, however its incorrect. Rav David Bar Hayim is very well respected by other Rabbinical Authorities in Israel and all of his views are well founded and brought forward from Chazal. If any of your “Rabbis” disagree then its due to their rejection of Chazal,which places them outside of Judaism. This is not a fault of Rav Bar Hayim. So do your homework. Sadly many people run around with the Title of Rabbi (Australia is a prime example), these people have no understanding of what this really means.

  • Galus Australis says:

    Avigail, you’re off topic. Do not write any more on this subject in this thread. Do not debate this instruction. Contravention will result in suspension of your account.

    Others, please do not respond to the above comment.

    Any comments contravening the above instructions will not make it through moderation.

  • bobby basrah says:

    Just wondering, maybe someone knows..

    20-30 years ago when the alleged abuses took place – here and in Sydney – were there ANY known cases (non-Jewish as well) that WERE reported to the authorities?

    What we can see is that the earlier Cyprus case was not taken too seriously by the police or judiciary.

    If, as I suspect, this was the general attitude, we may have some ‘immud zechus’ on those being put through the ringer now.

    And maybe Manny can go after the entire world!

    [content removed]

  • Blocked by Manny Waks says:

    Excellent post by J Goldberg.

    Our community’s children are already protected by strict safeguards against abuse. Manny Waks is primarily concerned with two things: bashing the Yeshivah and promoting himself as a ‘hero’.

    Funny that EVERY Fairfax hatchet-job about the Yeshivah features a great big photograph of Manny Waks. Why doesn’t he let any of the other Tzedek members get the photo ops?

    Furthermore, why hadn’t anyone asked….why did it take over FIFTEEN years for Manny Waks to lay charges against Dovid Cyprys?

    Mr Waks hypocritically accuses the Yeshivah of not having Cyprys prosecuted and letting Cyprys remain uncharged ….but didn’t Manny run off to Israel and do EXACTLY the same thing?

    And who was involved in sending David Kramer overseas? [content removed]

    Finally, talk about media bias. Last Saturday’s article in The Age heralded Manny’s lawsuit against the Yeshivah, but completely negelected to mention that Rabbi Glick is justifiably suing Manny!

  • Joe in Australia says:

    Furthermore, why hadn’t anyone asked….why did it take over FIFTEEN years for Manny Waks to lay charges against Dovid Cyprys?

    The police charged him, not Manny Waks. It remains technically possible for private individuals to bring charges, but in practice I understand that they are almost always either thrown out or taken over by the DPP. So a better question is why it took fifteen years for the police to do it. I have no idea; the whole process has been quite opaque.

  • Vivien Resofsky says:

    J Goldberg the issues here are the safety of children and healing/justice for those who experienced abuse in the past. Isn’t that fair enough?

  • Sunshine says:

    Blocked by Manny Waks

    No bloody wonder

    It’s not only bad enough that little boys were anally raped, forced to have oral sex with adults, expose their penises to figures of authority and have their penises and anuses touched. It’s wasn’t bad enough that at least two rabbis enabled this and helped knowingly expose more little boys to the same

    But you have a problem with how long it took for one to come forward because it didn’t suit your time frame? And that a newspaper supports a victim rather than one of these “rabbis”

    Blocked by Manny Waks, I’m praying you don’t work with or have any contact with children.

  • WasThere says:

    @Blocked by Manny Waks….

    1)Yes strict safeguards against abuse exist…The whole problem is that Yeshivah refused to comply for all these years….

    2)Could it be that the other members of Tzedek did not want their picture in the paper??….

    3)It’s all been discussed at length as to why it took 15years….
    Do you also ask victims of the 1000’s of Catholic priests why in many cases it took over 40 years??….
    There are still cases today b4 the courts from abuse that took place in the 1960’s and 70’s….
    Does this make the victims claims any less credible??..

    4)Why do you think that Manny is being sued??…..Because you read it here on Galus Australia blog??….
    The same blog which told us that “there is no investigation”??…LOL…

  • Leon says:

    Blocked by Manny Waks and others you all have to be joking. You shoot from the hip without any basic legal knowledge. Manny Waks cannot charge anyone. Only the Police can, and they have, and so far two individuals are Davening behind bars. As for Manny he is the victim, and he and others have every right to ensure that the truth of what occurred is made public. As for suing Manny I can assure you it will never happen. The witness is unreliable and has a bad memory. This is a legal matter before a Royal Commission and our Courts. We all need to tread carefully.

  • Vivien Resofsky says:

    J Goldberg your statement that “Our community’s children are already protected by strict safeguards against abuse. is NOT FACTUALLY CORRECT and DANGEROUS IF BELIEVED!

    Have you checked each school’s and service providers to children safeguards?

    I can tell you with direct knowledge that we are nowhere near the point you suggest. Before you leave your children in the care of others You need to check that safeguards and in place and that they are good enough to protect your child or the child being left in the care of others.

    J Goldberg are you equipped to prepared to help a child who may be sexually abused? Would you perhaps not interfere because of what Manny and his family have experienced?

  • Vivien Resofsky says:

    Alex can you please withdraw this part of the statement you made in relation to this matter?

    “Yeshivah has implemented numerous policies and safeguards as have other schools and communal institutions.”

    This statement is not factually correct, and if your readers accept it, they may then not take steps to check your assertion for themselves.

    J Goldberg’s acceptance of your assertion was alarming.

    Excellent post by J Goldberg.

    This is what was stated:
    “Our community’s children are already protected by strict safeguards against abuse. Manny Waks is primarily concerned with two things: bashing the Yeshivah and promoting himself as a ‘hero’.

    .

  • Joe in Australia says:

    Why do you think that Manny is being sued??…..Because you read it here on Galus Australia blog??….
    The same blog which told us that “there is no investigation”??…LOL…

    Well, Manny’s Facebook page links to a Herald-Sun story that makes the claim, and he doesn’t deny it. That’s not proof, of course, but there won’t be any proof without a writ.

  • WasThere says:

    @Joe…

    I just looked at his facebook page and I couldn’t find what you claim exists….

    I’ll just add that to list along with “Glick was just a teacher”…..And “there is no investigation”…..

    LOL @ the spin which becomes more ridiculous by the day….

  • Jenny says:

    yeah, I just checked too. there is no such post on Manny’s fb wall.
    Such an article exists, though (here: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/rabbi-launches-legal-action-against-sex-abuse-victims-advocate/story-fni0fee2-1226786774549)
    but I have to say that the story as is described in the article is very unconvincing.

    Not sure why people need to make up how it was posted on Manny’s wall, though. Do you realise that doing that means that I will no longer even try to believe anything that you write?

  • kush says:

    Editor: Do not allude to the identity of other commenters. Failure to comply will result in suspension of your account.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    Wasthere:

    I just looked at his facebook page and I couldn’t find what you claim exists….

    Here you go:
    https://www.facebook.com/shares/view?id=351470784994854

    My apologies; it was a link to Derryn Hinch’s blog, not to the Herald-Sun. It goes to a story with the not-at-all-anti-Semitic title The Yarmulke Conspiracy:

    Since then Rabbi Glick has himself been accused of raping a student, has been questioned by police and has been stood down.

    (He also recently launched defamation proceedings against Mr. Waks). […]

    Here’s a direct link to the story: http://www.humanheadline.com.au/hinch-says/the-yarmulke-conspiracy

    Jenny wrote:

    Not sure why people need to make up how it was posted on Manny’s wall, though. Do you realise that doing that means that I will no longer even try to believe anything that you write?

    Jenny, I don’t know who you are, and (while I don’t mean to offend you) I suspect that I wouldn’t care what you do or do not believe. Facts are facts; I’m not interested in your beliefs, any more than you are interested in mine.

  • J Goldberg says:

    Vivien, Vivien,

    It is quite obvious that you, like many other rabid Manny supporters are not quite interested in facts rather in your twisted view of reality.

    I made no mention of any safeguards put in place by Yeshivah (although now that you bring it up- there are highly effective policies currently in place)

    In typical “Manny Supporter” fashion, you mislead and state outright falsities as fact and then, based on your own misstatements, want everyone else to act on your incorrect facts.

    Blocked by Manny said that my post was good.

    Said commenterthen went ahead and made some comments of his or her own.

    Comprenez- vous? or do I need to write it more sslloowwllyy?

    This is rather in line with typical modus operandi of the cabal. Report misleading and false information to the press and then scream “Hey look, even the newspaper or radio said that….”

    How sad- what goes around comes around.

    J Goldberg

  • WasThere says:

    3 are in jail…3 more await trial and much more to come…

    http://www.haaretz.com/2013-in-review/.premium-1.565546

  • Avigael says:

    What has been publicised to date is not even the tip of the iceburg, I look forward to Justice being done, which is Hareim, Media exposure and Prison for a corrupt community that has failed for decades to deal with the abominations committed, not only in terms Spiritual Murder of those not able to defend themselves, whether of child abuse in the schools, abuse, theft and total corruption in the Beis Dins, the complete takeover of all Rabbinical Institutions by a heretic Cult of which other Rabbonim have stod by spineless, gutless and ballless and allowed this to occur. The entire community is a disgrace and will be known as such.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    Dan:

    Is this what you are looking for?

    https://www.facebook.com/manny.waks/posts/649093308467007

    That’s it! Thanks for finding it; I was sure that I’d seen it somewhere.

    I was surprised that anyone doubted the story. I have no idea why WasThere or Jenny should ascribe such huge significance to the matter; it doesn’t even reflect poorly on Manny, because practically anybody can be sued at any time for any reason. Whether the litigant wins or loses is quite another matter, of course.

    Anyway, this has all been very silly.

  • Galus Australis says:

    Avigail, your anti-Chabad sentiments have been well and truly expressed on this site. Please do not add any more. Failure to comply will result in suspension of your account.

  • Ilana Leeds says:

    B’H

    Well, well a piece of proper moderation. I actually find this site so offensive because of the anti-religious bashings that a lot of people indulge in. If only we forgot the labels or respected people’s approach to observance or not, and saw the real human beings involved, we would all be better off.
    I might disagree with people but I still love you all, despite the vitriol and the hatred expressed. Let’s put down our weapons and look on our fellow beings with a good eye, irrespective of the shule they do attend or don’t attend.
    The issue everyone is forgetting is the protection and mental health of our children, the next generation of leaders. How do we best preserve their innocence and childhood and keep it healthy and make them strong and positive members of the community and greater society. That is the main issue. Not personal differences. G-D help us all if we can’t sort that one out.

  • Galus Australis says:

    Ilana:
    Do not discuss moderation policy in thread. Address any concerns in an email to the editor. Failure to comply is a breach of commenting policy.

    You have been suspended once from this site for failing to comply with policies.

    Any further breaches will result in a permanent ban.

  • Conflict of Interest says:

    I can’t help but note that Mr Waks has an enormous, apparent conflict of interest here. For someone who is intending to sue Yeshivah for failure to take action to be leading the charge to publicize claims of abuse, to be involved in promoting prosecutions and encouraging victims to step forward is disingenuous at the very least.

    Surely:
    – As CEO Mr Waks has fidcuiary duties to the organisation which are in conflict with his own litigation, including by diminishing the asset pool available for compensation and acting on his own behalf.
    – Encouraging victims to step forward, gathering information from them and otherwise engaging with them for all this time, to then use their revelations and testimony for his own purposes is a breach of faith (and perhaps an equitable Breach of Confidence?)
    – Full disclosure (which may have occurred) of these intentions must have been made to the Tzedek board at the outset, including Mr Waks’ belief that he had such a right which he might act on.
    – Victims or those alleging victimisation should have been informed that a legal, as well as moral (and political?) agenda existed on the part of the person urging them to come forward.

    To put it simply. Mr Waks’ legal claims against Yeshiva may be enormously advanced by dint of the successful prosecutions of former Yeshiva employees, during which testimony was compelled under oath. Without prosecutions and convictions, reliant on those coming forward at Tzedek’s urging, Mr Waks would not be suing.

    None of this is about the justice, or otherwise, of either Mr Waks’ claims against Yeshiva or those of other individuals raising allegations. However, Mr Waks does need to make an election as to whether he is an impassioned victim, seeking justice for wrongs done to himself through legal redress, or whether he is a leader of an organisation representing victims. He cannot be both at the same time, nor should any person who has relied on Tzedek- some truly vulnerable- be left feeling that they have been used.

    I would be very much unsurprised if, in the coming days, Mr Waks’ resignation is announced ostensibly to enable him to proceed with his own litigation.

  • Ilana Leeds says:

    Editor: This tirade has resulted in a permanent ban from this site.

  • Sunshine says:

    Just wondering if any one here knows Manny personally? Has worked with Tzedek or tried to get to know the people there?

    It seems everyone has so much to say but may not exactly know anything at all about the people they trash?

    Anyone?

  • Joe in Australia says:

    All this talk of legal action confuses me. Surely the alleged acts took place so long ago that a plaintiff would be barred by the Limitation of Actions act? I suppose he could seek special dispensation from a court, but we’re talking about a *much* longer time than is usually allowed.

  • Conflict of Interest says:

    A plaintiff could get leave to sue even after normal expiry for a number of reasons. I would imagine that, in the current political climate, Mr Waks might have a good chance of persuading a judge to grant him leave. He might, for instance, assert that his damages have only crystallized now.

    I know Manny fairly well. I can’t say that it changes anything in terms of his legal position or fiduciary duties.

  • Sunshine says:

    Conflict , a question?

    Who would have a bigger legal position and duty? Manny or a school principal?

    Aside from yourself though I did suspect No one here actually has any real knowledge.

  • WasThere says:

    Some bad news for apologists and GalusAustralis Admin…..

    As Tzedek celebrates it first birthday it seems that Tzedek(and Manny) will continue to grow and do even more great work in 2014….
    As always,….There is not a damn thing that any of you can do to stop Tzedek and/or Manny….

    =============
    An end-of-year message from Tzedek
    Posted on December 31, 2013 by Tzedek

    31 December 2013

    On this New Year’s Eve, it is worth briefly reflecting on the year that has been.

    Firstly, today is Tzedek’s first anniversary – we became a formal organisation on 31 December 2012. So a Mazal Tov is in order!

    We are still in our infancy, and while every new organisation has its teething issues, together with our community we have accomplished a great deal over the past year.

    Three people are currently in jail for unspeakable crimes committed against many children within our community. Three others have been charged and will hopefully face justice in 2014. Multiple investigations are still underway into other alleged perpetrators. A recent Haaretz article provides a great overview.

    Importantly, in a world first, in the lead-up to Yom Kippur there was a public acknowledgement and unequivocal apology to victims/survivors of child sexual abuse (CSA) by Australia’s Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, President of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, which Tzedek publicly acknowledged and welcomed.

    There are also two independent inquiries currently underway in relation to two community organisations, Jewish Care Victoria and Maccabi. Tzedek welcomed both the Jewish Care and Maccabi responses.

    Throughout the past year, Tzedek has:

    Provided ongoing advice and support to an ever-increasing number of victims/survivors throughout Australia (and globally)
    Significantly raised community awareness of the issue of CSA and empowered victims/survivors to come forward and commence their healing process
    Hosted national parental workshops/information sessions on CSA prevention and facilitated educational workshops in schools
    Undertaken significant Royal Commission-related work, including the assembly of an expert legal team for Royal Commission legal matters
    Developed and published numerous resources, including High Holiday Guidelines for synagogues, Camp Guidelines and resources for parents
    Worked/consulted with a number of institutions to offer support, advice and training
    Provided critical information, advice and training to relevant stakeholders (e.g. CASA – Centre Against Child Assault, Victorian Department of Justice, Victoria Police and NSW Police) about Jewish sensitivities in the context of CSA
    Recruited a solid base of highly skilled, diverse and dedicated volunteers
    Reviewed the relevant policies and procedures for a major national communal institution
    Led two successful international campaigns, which resulted in two prominent US-based rabbis issuing formal public apologies for their offensive comments about CSA
    Developed an educational YouTube clip which reached thousands of people globally

    There is still a very long way to go.

    For those who (still) erroneously believe that the issue of CSA is confined to any particular segment of the community, events have proven otherwise. Within the Jewish community, CSA impacts every segment of our community; ultra-Orthodox, Modern Orthodox, Progressive, sporting clubs, social welfare organisations and elsewhere. Simply put, no group is immune.

    We look forward to a busy 2014 in which we will continue to pursue our vision – a Jewish community free of CSA – and important mission, without fear or favour. The culture of offending with impunity and institutional cover-up is finally being challenged. As we have demonstrated, we will not hesitate to pursue all allegations of abuse and cover-ups. We will use every means at our disposal to ensure justice is achieved and the safety of our children assured – all of course within the parameters of the legal system.

    We have big plans for the future. While we will continue to focus on the reactive aspect of our work such as obtaining justice for past crimes and supporting victims/survivors, importantly, we intend to undertake many proactive strategies, including greater efforts at community education. We will increase our efforts to empower parents/guardians, children and those who interact with children by educating them on the issue of CSA.

    Tzedek is in the best position it has ever been. To this end we expect to make an important announcement early in 2014.

    Finally, we would like to thank our many supporters and friends from Australia and around the world for their ongoing support and friendship. There is no doubt that our achievements – past, present and future – are a result of the incredible support of so many. A particular thank you to our many generous donors and dedicated volunteers.

    If you are in a position to assist in some way – whether to volunteer or provide financial support (or both) – please contact us.

    Thank you all again for your ongoing and generous support.

    We wish everyone a happy, healthy and fulfilling 2014!

    Enough! No more silence.

    With warm wishes,

    Manny Waks
    Founder & CEO
    Tzedek

    http://www.tzedek.org.au/end-year-message-tzedek/

  • Conflict of Interest says:

    Sunshine, I’m note sure how to answer that.
    The two are not readily comparable, outside of fiduciary duties, where it would depend on the level of control or authority of the principal, in most cases. For instance, the duty not to be in conflict would remain in both cases- if a principal set up their own private tutoring company on the side, for instance, they would likely be in conflict. The presumption of fiduciary duties and trustee-levels of duty apply to board members. These are owed to the organisation or corporation. Most employees have some level of fiduciary duties, depending on their nature and seniority. A typical principal would probably be comparable to a CEO.

    However, I suspect that you are referring to negligence and a duty of care, rather than a duty not to be in conflict, make a secret profit or to act in good faith. with regard to negligence, the Wrongs Act sets out the relevant principles.
    In brief, the standard, along with public policy elements, is largely dependent on whatever the standard of care, expectation and responsibility would have been expected of the individual based on the standards of the time, not of today.
    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/wa1958111/s48.html

    If the principal was aware, or by the standards of the time should have been aware, or implemented processes to become aware etc, there may be a claim for negligence. I would imagine that a claim against the organisation would be stronger than against the principal. I would also imagine, though, that the decades that have elapsed would make it difficult to provide concrete evidence of procedures or processes. It would be a case that I, for one, would not want to run, and would probably not be profitable.

    I would add, though, that the issue against Mr Waks would likely be a matter of equity, and possibly the Corporations Act, whereas a claim against the school for failing to deal with a paedophile would almost certainly be one of negligence or, perhaps, vicarious liability. Both these options are fraught with difficulty, including limitations of actions, changed circumstances, persuading victims to testify, evidence issues and funding. Mr Waks has also received ‘modest compensation’ from the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal. I would imagine that there would be some sort of claw-back provision, though I admit that I haven’t checked this particular issue.

    If there really are other victims, as Mr Waks asserts, there may be a chance of a class action. Mr Waks would need at least 6 in the same class of claimant, though…

  • Joe in Australia says:

    I acknowledge that Manny’s right to sue may be revived. None the less, it’s an additional hurdle which nobody seems to have discussed.

    With respect to Manny’s fiduciary duties, I don’t actually know whether Tzedek is incorporated, or whether it claims to be anything other than an “advocate for Jewish victims/survivors of child sexual abuse”. That sentence is the closest thing to a charter I could find on its website, and given that Manny is himself a victim/survivor I think it would be hard to argue that he shouldn’t advocate for himself.

  • issac brott says:

    The reality is that its Manny Wax out there who is active.The shameful conduct or more accurately’non conduct’ elevated Wax to the position of a leader.The mean spirited often viscious hate directed at Wax and his family is remarkable and does not bode well for our community.
    One only needs top go to the Jewish museum in Melbourne and one can see that the Wax family are elevated and held exemplary to all those who visit.
    The harsh ,horrible and indeed monstrous reality is that Jewish children have been violated [content removed]

  • Conflict of Interest says:

    Further to my above reply, I attach a few links which may be of interest:

    http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/principals/spag/safety/pages/dutyofcare.aspx

    The standard of care required in a public school is generally higher than in a private school. This is because, with the resources of the Department of Education, the capacity and hence burden of the school to avoid dangers is likely much higher. The special student-teacher relationship, which gives rise to a duty of care, needs to also be factored in with regards to ‘community’ activities, such as Mesibos Shabbas. whether the Yeshiva Centre and the Yeshiva School can be said to be synonymous could come into issue. Mr Waks would need to identify relevant parties here.

    http://ro.ecu.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1289&context=ajte

    This is a much more extensive, and academic paper. I have only lightly browsed it. It should be noted, though, that the applicable standards will be those from the time of the alleged negligence, not from today.

    I hope that this material helps put the question of teacher negligence into a more precise light. Moral culpability and legal responsibility are rather distinct ideas.

  • Conflict of Interest says:

    Tzedek appears to be incorporated, unless there is another entity using the name. Two separate entities exist- one is a trading name for two trusts, the other is an incorporated entity. I can’t say that I have a good idea who is behind The Keysborough Two (Aroona) Trust & The Keysborough Two (Polo) Trust, but I would be very interested if this is connected to Tzedek too, as it was first created in 2005.

    http://abr.business.gov.au/SearchByName.aspx?SearchText=tzedek

    Mr Waks, however, is a senior employee. As Chief Executive Officer, his fiduciary duties arise from his position, not the incorporation of the entity.

    Is Mr Waks as an alleged victim of child abuse a ‘target client’ of Tzedek’s? Almost certainly. However, that isn’t the issue here. The issue is whether Mr Waks’ leadership and direction of the organisation has given him an improper benefit, has occassioned a breach of fiduciary duties etc. It is hard to imagine that this issue has not arisen.

  • tom says:

    issac well said

  • Reallity Check says:

    We’ll put Issac Brott. There is no excuse for the heinous crime of child sex abuse and protecting the perpetrators.

  • Reallity Check says:

    Stupid auto spell check on these contraptions. It should be “Well put Issac Brott”

  • MargB says:

    While I have no idea why certain people may have stepped down from Tzedek’s board, I am not surprised. There is a certain amount of churn that goes through the volunteer boards of virtually ANY organisation. Being on a board – any board – is both time consuming and hard work. Even if you are committed to an organisation you need to balance its needs with that of your family, paid work, other interests, etc, etc.

    (Full disclosure – in 2013 I volunteered extensively with Tzedek but in recent months have had to step back because of work commitments – not because of any problems with Manny or board members.)

    I have been involved in many not-for-profits (as a volunteer, board member and employee) and can attest that attracting and retaining skilled people (particularly treasurers) is a constant challenge – few people have the skills required, those who do often have many demands on them and each year the legal/paperwork obligations become more and more onerous.

    Tzedek just celebrated its one-year anniversary – it’s a natural time for over-committed people to take a step back.

    —————-

    Re: Time for Manny to step down – who do you suggest could possibly replace him at the moment? The organisation is still at the stage where it needs someone with almost superhuman convictions and commitment to drive it to the point where it can afford to employ 5-6 people to cover all the roles Manny fills at the moment (with the help of volunteers of varying degrees of time/commitment/ability).

    Of course the conflict between Manny and his family and Yeshivah has resulted in a far from ideal situation but it doesn’t mean he can’t effectively lead Tzedek. Also surely it should be the leaders of Yeshivah who have put every obstacle in the way of bringing (now) convicted paedophiles to justice who should be stepping down!

  • Steven says:

    Thanks MargB for voluteering and well said. This video of Rabbi Smason talking about David Kramer is doing the rounds. At 4:24 he says “Intellectually, it was a no brainer”, which is what all organisations should have said about paedophiles.

  • Brad says:

    Any organisation revolving around one person is asking for trouble.
    Marg, could you please show us any other organization, particularly one as sensitive as the ideals Tzedek wishes to inpart on us, which allows it’s CEO to operate a personal Facebook page as contentious and volatile as that run by Tzedeks CEO?
    Manny has removed posts which lingered on his Facebook page knowing full well the same fictitious posters on his FB wall were simultaneously posting on one of the most scurrilous blogs in existence. It was only when things began to heat up were those FB posts were removed, but not before copies were made.
    I saw some a week ago before I went on holidays. Absolutely shameful!
    If you can’t see past the points I have made, that reassures me and others that the most successful of all of Manny’s (mis)achievements is that he has surrounded himself with even more [content removed for legal reasons].

  • Conflict of Interest says:

    The questions raised by both Marg and Brad are practical questions of the competence and dedication of Mr Waks. However, the more basic legal test remains- it is not sufficient to insist that no-one else was able to take on a task as a defence to a conflict of interest, especially where Mr Waks elects to commence action after founding Tzedek, not before.

    The question of a Facebook page is a separate, interesting one. The level of responsibility that a Facebook page owner has, as publisher, for defamation is something that I am sure will be litigated in the future. I wouldn’t suggest that it disqualifies someone, though it may be… imprudent.

  • Sunshine says:

    If defamation suits were baSed on Facebook , every person with an account in Facebook would be sued.

    There’s not a person in FB who doesn’t have an opinion or point of view that could be considered defamatory.

    Teenagers would all have suits.

    Yeshiva principal openly printed a defamatory letter about Tzedek and it’s volunteers being anti orthodox in their “there’s no investigation letter”

    [potentially defamatory material removed] Does that mean I can get sued? [Editor: Yes: you could get sued – or more to the point, I could.]

    What about me suing Brad and J Goldberg for the things they said about me?

    Move on and stop hiding behind the suits and words rather than face the disgraceful conduct of so called religious people.

  • Conflict of Interest says:

    Sunshine, defamation law has certain complexities to it. Not every insult is actionable.
    However, the more important requirement is, frankly, money.
    It costs a lot to run a case. Even a successful litigant will not receive all their costs back. Costs are often discretionary, in large part.
    Therefore the fact that a lot of people make comments that may be rude or wrong or even defamatory, but do not carry significant material damage, is an example of a technical right that is not worth acting on.
    Technically, you could sue the operator of a vending machine that swallows your coin. You would get $2, pay a $250 filing fee and court costs besides. It’s just not worth it.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    MargB, there are a lot of things I don’t know about Tzedek. If you know, would you mind telling us:

    1) What sort of business structure does Tzedek use? Is it a corporation, an association, or what?

    2) If it is incorporated, where could I find a copy of its charter or constitution?

    3) If it is a corporation, who owns the shares?

    4) If it is a trust, where could I find a copy of the trust deed?

    5) Can Tzedek accept tax-deductible gifts? If not, why not?

  • Steven says:

    I ‘love’ all the comments that are questioning what Manny has/is doing. Isn’t it glaring obvious that there would be no convictions without him, no ongoing investigations, no increased public knowledge etc etc. Without Manny, WHO WAS DOING ANYTHING to get rapists off the streets? If you got rid of him, you would be back to where we were 5 years ago ,ie absolutely no-where. Only a victim is going to fight tooth and nail. If he steps on some toes on the way to justice, is it his fault or the rapists/enablers/cover-uperers? Don’t rape kids and you can avoid the Chillul Hashem.

  • Leon says:

    Joe in Australia I don’t understand the relevance of any of your questions. I’m concerned about the safety of our children within our Community. You ,in my opinion, are deliberately obfuscating the issue and if you listened to Rabbi Smason (10 minutes in) you understand the reasons for your action. My understanding is that the Leadership must have, or should have known about Kramer and the use of funds to remove him from Australia. He then reoffended against our children and was jailed in America. In my opinion if the leadership knew of Kramer’s disgusting actions and failed to act to protect all Jewish kids ( by all I mean the whole World) then they should be outed and Daven daily with Kramer. We need to know what occurred and who was responsible. For those of you who are trying to besmirch MW and his family all I can say is that you disgust me. What about our kids Joe in Australia?

  • Sceptic says:

    MargB, you seem to have fallen into the trap of many that if something is repeated often enough it takes on the appearance of fact.
    Your statement

    Also surely it should be the leaders of Yeshivah who have put every obstacle in the way of bringing (now) convicted paedophiles to justice who should be stepping down!

    I assume that you are talking of events which happened over 20 years ago as the current Yeshivah administration are being proactive in dealing with even spurious accusations of pedophilia.

    If you are into blanket accusations then maybe you should include the police – by Manny’s own admission when he first approached the police in the mid 1990s they refused to do anything about his accusations. That appears to me as if the police were putting obstacles in the way of justice! But maybe the Yeshivah bogeyman is an easier target.

  • Brad says:

    Leon et al

    Waks Snr blogged on Manny’s FB (and elsewhere) he regretted he never went to the police in the Kramer scenario re the Son No: 1 incident. Of course every excuse under the sun as to why he did not. But he was the father and should have done what a father should have done! As Sceptic correctly pointed out re Son No: 2 Manny (who is actually the older son but second in the scene of abuse events) the police did bugger all when there was a complaint lodged.

    OK Father & Son, lets see you enjoin the Victoria police in all your complaints and intended follow-through planned legal actions!!

    What’s missing? The Holy Ghost?

    Quoting Sceptic “But maybe the Yeshivah bogeyman is an easier target.”

  • Sunshine says:

    Thank you Brad.

    Waks senior did the one thing Yeshiva principals and representatives have never done. He admitted wrong doing and remorse

    Good on you for pointing it out.

  • Brad says:

    The Yeshivah has as well, numerous times except their language doesn’t suit your style and never will unless you draft it.Probably not even then. You don’t have a conflict of interest, you have a “vested interest”, don’t you Sunshine?

    It’s called a “Guilt Trip” which can’t be expunged no matter what.
    You say Waks senior admitted wrong doing? Let him pay for it!
    He admits remorse? Let him provide the restitution!
    Then let him get up there on that “famous Bimah” and scream out, I messed up from day one, I accept full responsibility for the vulnerability I created not only for Manny but the other abused child.

    Then we’ll know he’s sorry and remorseful.

    And you’re not happy about the Yeshivah’s public regrets?

    Ho! Ho! Ho!

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!

  • Joe in Australia says:

    Leon wrote:

    Joe in Australia I don’t understand the relevance of any of your questions.

    It’s OK if you don’t know. I expect somebody reading this blog does, though, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to find out.

    I’m concerned about the safety of our children within our Community. You ,in my opinion, are deliberately obfuscating the issue and if you listened to Rabbi Smason (10 minutes in) you understand the reasons for your action.

    What?

  • Sunshine says:

    Rascism alive and well brad.

    Can you point me to the public apology from Yeshiva and the remorse of their leadership and ex and current principals. Where has this been printed? Perhaps I genuinely missed that.

    I agree Waks senior should be punished along with all of the leadership.

    Please don’t assume you know anything about me. I understand in your eyes you can’t be religious or Jewish unless you agree with you.

    But agreeing with you and the criminals you support makes you and them fake in every way.

    The abuse my child suffered in your institutions made us see the liars you all are. Religion doesn’t live there. But you do.

  • Sunshine says:

    http://m.theage.com.au/victoria/yeshivah-apology-to-student-victims-20120822-24mut.html

    This is all I could fine from the current principal who was not responsible at all.

    Did any of the actual wrong doers besides Waks actually apologise, admit wrong doing and show remorse? Please send the links Brad.

    TIA

  • Brad says:

    24/7/13

    Not good enough for you Sunshine?

    You were happy with Waks 5 word regret, on Manny’s FB page but not the following public letter from the Yeshivah?

    Too bad, we believe it was said from the heart, however except for the diehards like yourself will be never be satisfied by anything.

    Seems like the “pedophile infested school, together with the apologist infested community” was good for Manny to send his kids there a few years back, and incredibly, Papa Waks had no qualms sending his kids there up to and including 2013. Begs the question; would anyone who believed the school was and is what you think it was and is continue to expose their remaining precious children to such a treacherous institution, particularly after having had 2 kids allegedly devastated by their experiences?

    Hardly!!!

    But the Waks did!

    Would you have Sunshine?
    ============================

    24/7/13

    Dear Parents,

    In relation to today’s sentencing of Mr David Kramer, a past teacher in Yeshivah College from 1989 to 1992, justice has now been served and we hope that it acts as a deterrent for other offenders. We recognise that the effects of abuse are profound and we empathise with the victims and their families, and hope this sentencing will facilitate a degree of comfort and closure.

    We would like to reiterate once again our unreserved apology for any historical wrongs that have occurred. We continue to offer support and counselling to anyone who feels this will be of benefit to them.

    Today, at Yeshivah College, we employ absolute best practice and we are vigilant in ensuring the safety of the most vulnerable members of our community – our children. We believe it is most effective to approach Child Protection from multiple perspectives:

    · Staff: We have robust policies and practices accompanied by highly effective training that ensures all our staff support child protection and are vigilant in dealing with suspected abuse and in mandatory reporting. All staff undergo screening before employment.

    · Students: We empower our students by training them in age appropriate protective behaviours and fostering resilience. Even so, it is always, and will always be the responsibility of the protective adults in their environment to ensure and uphold their safety.

    · Parents: We educate and empower parents to be vigilant, develop healthy two way communication with their children regarding protective matters, and to partner with the school to reinforce safety practices.

    · Community: We have established strong connections and close working relationships with all relevant Government and support services, in particular with the Victoria Police and the Department of Human Services (DHS).

    Yeshivah sincerely regrets and unreservedly apologises for not informing the Police at the time the allegations arose. If any allegations were to arise today, they would be immediately reported to the Police and the relevant authorities.

    Keeping a community ‘safe’ is a verb not a noun; it requires constant effort, and together it can be achieved.

    Sincerely,

    Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler
    Principal Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah Colleges

  • Conflict of Interest says:

    In terms of constructive provision of knowledge, rather than name calling:
    I’ve posted the link above to the ASIC search of Tzedek. It shows that Tzedek is a corporation and an incorporated association. to accept tax-free donations requires a lengthy process, which may or may not be something that Tzedek feels is an appropriate use of its resources.

    There is a confusion, I think, between the continued legal personality of Yeshiva as an ongoing entity and a conflation of all its past leadership with the present day leadership. Like, I would think, the apology to the stolen generation, there can be only limited benefit in an ‘innocent generation’ accepting culpability for past wrongs. Legally, the capacity for an admission of liability may be limited here to the corporation, not past individuals whose liability would be a matter of court determination.

    However, as a matter of interest, I’ve conducted the following search:
    https://connectonline.asic.gov.au/RegistrySearch/faces/landing/panelSearch.jspx?searchText=yeshiva&searchType=OrgAndBusNm&searchTab=search&_adf.ctrl-state=wu5rkdox0_58

    This is a search for organisations under the name ‘Yeshiva.’ There do not appear to be any extant companies in Victoria that are relevant. The NSW entities are clearly separate. Someone with time (and money) may have an interest in exploring this structure. However, if as appears likely, the Yeshiva centre has reorganised its assets over the past decades, the principal of yeshiva may be apologising on behalf of a ‘moral entity’ but not a legal one of current existence.

  • Steven says:

    Yeshivah knows my postal address and has never bothered to apologise to any of it’s students in Rabbi Kramer’s class. Saying sorry to a journalist just isn’t the anyhwere near the same.

  • issac brott says:

    You are all being sucked into the game….the issue is not the Wax family….they are the victims….its the gang who run trhe’ Hotham Street franchise’.[content removed]
    Still no admissions,no resignations,no disclosures and no transparency.
    How many on staff or in the administration who knew are still on staff?Do you know?
    They have betrayed us and shamed us and damaged so many but they will hang on till death otherwise they face exposure iof they take their hand of the keys to the filing cabinets.
    The saga of the ‘Wax acrimony’ adds to the shame of our community.Wax was and is a victim…his family are victims…the attacks are nothing more than diversions initiated by those who have captured the Rebbes legacy,by those who hold their hand on the throat of the Yeshivah ,those who heap more dirt on a dead mans grave …. those who presided over this abomination and continued besmirching of the name of Klal Yisroel.

  • WasThere says:

    @issac brott…

    The only school employee who had any real standing back then is Rabbi Glick….He ran the school in those days and only answered to Groner….
    Other then him the only people in any power that are still then would be members of the Yeshivah “executive”….

  • WasThere says:

    @Conflict of Interest….

    I agree that the apology from Smukler is akin to Rudd doing the apology to the stolen generation….
    It’s welcomed but it’s still just a token gesture…

    IMO an apology from Glick would hold far more meaning and carry a lot more weight because he was there in power at the time….

    As we all saw from the comments of the judge at the Cypryss committal hearing not a lot has changed and the mentality of 25 years ago is alive and well especially from Glicks position….
    This simply must change for their to be any progress….

    Court cases and arrests from issues in Melbourne at least should be over by the end of 2014….
    However it would be foolish to think that a pedophile could never exist in future years…
    It’s how future cases are handled that is the real issue here….

    For this reason without full and unconditional change from Yeshivah in regards to any future offenders the job will remain only half done and the need for community outrage and for that matter the work of Manny and Zedek would need to continue….

  • tom says:

    Go Issac Brott
    he’s not faceless

  • Sunshine says:

    Thanks Brad that’s Smuklers apology for something he didn’t do.

    I don’t see anything from any of the so called “religious rabbis” at all, those who did the damage. And no I’m not satisfied with Waks apology as it’s only the start. He along with the Rabbis who you support should all be charged and punished.

    As a point any apology from the innocent is like the current German govt saying sorry for hitler and thinking it’s enough. That may be enough for Brad but then I was brought up differently.

    Lastly I agree the points been missed but it’s a common pathological psychological tactic to deflect responsibility by focusing on “defamation” to try make others see you are really a good person.

    Sorry Brad just having enough money to sue doesn’t change that your heroes are criminals

  • Joe in Australia says:

    It would take an amazing amount of nobility and self-sacrifice for someone to make an apology at a time when they were potentially facing both civil and criminal court cases.

    This is a fundamental problem with our adversarial legal system: victims often want acknowledgement and an apology, but defendants’ lawyers advise their clients to remain silent because an apology will prejudice their case.

    I can imagine alleged victims getting together to receive closure in a forum with people who were allegedly guilty of negligence. The alleged victims would waive their right to sue, and the others would be encouraged to speak frankly. It would be a sort of “Truth and Reconciliation” meeting, like the ones in South Africa. I don’t think it could protect anyone from future claimants or from criminal charges, though.

  • Steven says:

    And how much nobility and self sacrifice would it have taken 20 years just after Kramer was sent on a holiday leaving 40 victims who urgently needed councelling? Instead everyone was instructed not to discuss it. Had the right thing been done 20 years ago we would not be having this discussion today.

  • Leon says:

    Congratulations Steven. At last someone has exhibited grey matter. Those who committed the terrible assaults and rapes on our children are zitzing in Her Majesties facilities but what of those who failed our kids and caused others to incur the same crimes time and again. These people, the Senior Leadership must be exposed and if the Law says they have committed no crime, then they must be run out of town. No wonder the Chair of Board moved overseas and others in senior roles are doing everything to protect the Organisation when in fact they are protecting themselves.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    Steven, I don’t think anyone defends the way Yeshiva handled it.

    There’s one ironic thing that I don’t think anyone has talked about: the law treated sexual abuse more leniently at the time; if David Kramer had been reported to the police he wouldn’t have been given a prison sentence, certainly not one of this length. He very likely would have escaped with a fine and/or good behavior bond. People who oppose police prosecution for cases like this, if there are any left, would do well to reflect on the fact that absolutely everybody involved in that episode was hurt by the decision to help him escape prosecution, even David Kramer himself.

  • Sunshine says:

    I agree that the law was different at the time

    I also agree that we know better and those responsible should not escape punishment now.

    The children certainly didnt

  • Steven says:

    Joe are you the same Joe who wrote “It would take an amazing amount of nobility and self-sacrifice for someone to make an apology at a time when they were potentially facing both civil and criminal court cases.”

    If so, what do you mean. Is this an excuse for not apologising? Has Yeshivah apologised? I have received no apology from them. As I keep writing they have my postal address. The Police wrote to me using a Yeshivah envelope with a Yeshivah name label on it. If I need councelling are they offering me any? I wouldn’t know would I?

    You write “if David Kramer had been reported to the police he wouldn’t have been given a prison sentence”.

    I don’t know if that’s true but everyone would have known he was a rapist and he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to rape again in the USA, as any normal school and shule would not have let him near children. But then Yeshivah, Melbourne is different ala Cyprys.

    Wake up.

  • WasThere says:

    How exactly do you think those responsible for the cover ups should be punished??…..

    Today of course they would be charged under the Failure to report act which could carry a prison term but I don’t believe such laws existed at the time of Cyprys and Kramer cases…..

  • Steven says:

    I am not saying they should be punished. The debate is not whether they should be punished or not punished, it is about what was/is the morally right thing to do, and whether police should or should not be called immediately. I hear lots of excuses about why it was ok to send Kramer overseas, such as there was no mandatory reporting or people didn’t know the effects on the victims etc, and they make me sick. The police should have been called 20 years ago just as they should be called today.

    If a Rebbetzin would have been raped 20 years ago, should the police have been called? Or do you just deport the rapist and let him continue?

  • WasThere says:

    Biggest question for me is has Yeshivah Melbourne contacted and made apology to the kid who was molested in Missouri by Kramer??…..
    Clearly what happened in Missouri was far worse level of offending then what took place in Melbourne….
    Maybe Kramer escalated his offensive behavior because he got away with it at the time in Melbourne…..

    IMO Yeshivah is 110% responsible for what happened to that kid as had they acted then it’s less likely that Kramer would have ever had access to kids again…
    And who knows if there are victims in Israel as well which is where he went first after leaving Australia……

    IMO Yeshivah is also responsible for the later victims of Cyprys….
    And in Sydney, Yeshivah [content removed]
    In both cases had they acted responsibly then it’s highly unlikely that there would have been later alleged victims….

  • Avigael says:

    Editor: Substituting the word, “cult” for “Chabad” does not make your post any less defamatory or offensive. You have been warned about incitement against Chabad. Your account has therefore been suspended.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    David Kramer was found guilty of having committed indecent assaults while in Australia, not rape. The facts are bad enough; there’s no need to embellish them.

  • Steven says:

    Joe, practically is there any difference?

  • Joe in Australia says:

    Rape is basically defined in Victoria as “sexual penetration”; i.e., the offender illegally penetrates or is penetrated by the victim. An indecent assault is basically an illegal physical contact (whether through clothes or otherwise) that is sexual in nature.

    David Kramer was convicted of fondling students’ private areas through their clothes. We shouldn’t call him a rapist because (a) it’s not true; and (b) it will confuse people about the severity of the different crimes: the vast majority of sexual offenses are probably similar to what David Kramer did, and people need to know that they are serious enough to attract a prison sentence.

    You can find a transcript of his sentencing hearing here: http://daattorah.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/molester-david-kramer-court-papers-for.html

  • Conflict of Interest says:

    Actually, rape does not require that the perpetrator penetrate the victim- it requires that penetration occur. So, for instance, and not to be too graphic, if a person compels another to penetrate them, or a third party, this will also constitute rape.
    Additionally, it should be noted that sexual assault is ‘assault of a sexual nature’ or in sexual circumstances- it can be as little (not that it is truly little) as a man fondling a woman’s breast, or, actually, putting a person in fear of physical or sexual violence in sexual circumstances. Technically, sexual assault can occur if a man threatens to hit a woman if she doesn’t obey his sexual desire, kiss him etc etc, regardless of whether she complies or not.

  • B H says:

    I think it’s time that we should end the rumours and innuendo and we should remind ourselves that everybody is innocent until proven guilty. Allegations of sexual abuse can end somebody’s life, whether true or not.

    If there is an allegation, that’s between the court system, the police, the victim, the perpetrator and the relevant communal bodies. Nobody else needs to know.

    I really commend Manny on his work so far. I do think this whole saga is a disaster that could have been avoided on so many levels.

    Personally, as somebody who was taught by Kramer for several years, because of the way this was handled, I don’t care what tools are now in place, one thing is for certain, I will never send my kids off to a religious Jewish day school, never and I will encourage all my friends to do the same. The community’s educational bodies are in my mind, poisoned and pathetic.

  • WasThere says:

    To tar all religious schools with same brush because of actions of one school is just wrong IMO….

    It’s like if you would for example label all Catholic men as pedophiles just because thousands of their priests are….

  • Sunshine says:

    Every schools has issues of abusehaving experienced religious jewish, mainstream jewish, public and non jewish private schools with my boys u can say that the jewish schools have no idea and no r do they want to.

    The way in which sex ed, abuse Ed happens in public schools and private non jewish are ao far and away superior it’s scary

    At the religious school where my boys were sex ed didn’t cover much because sex before marriage and masturbation and homosexuality is a sin so everything around sex such as abuse , birth and STD control were never discussed and forbidden.

    Public schools all the way!

  • Conflict of Interest says:

    BH, that position is definitely understandable, but neither statistically nor logically valid.

    1. There is no evidence that sexual abuse is more likely in religious schools than in secular or state schools
    2. The inference that one ‘religious school’ is just like another is unsupported by any evidence that I have been able to come across. Different communities, different approaches, more psychologists- do you really think that Adass and King David (if the latter is a ‘religious school’, I don’t know your definition) are particularly alike.
    3. The reference to ‘the community’ implies a degree of unity, or common authority, that I fear we do not have, as much as it would be desirable.

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