Abuse Victim Manny Waks – AUS $800K in Damages from David Cyprys

Abuse victim Manny Waks wins $800,000 in damages from paedophile David Cyprys

Waks, now an advocate for Jewish abuse victims, was one of a number of children Cyprys abused at Melbourne’s Chabad Yeshivah centre

 

Continue reading

The Manny Waks Newsletter, December 2019

Dear Readers:

We are subscribers to the newsletter published online by Manny Waks on his blog. We encourage you to subscribe as well. Interested readers should click here.

We are reposting this without obtaining his permission to do so and if asked, it will be taken down. We have chosen this particular printing of the newsletter to repost because we have covered so many of the stories independently.

We are admirers of Manny Waks’ work on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse and wholeheartedly support his efforts to prevent sexual abuse in the Global Jewish Community. We sincerely hope that one day his newsletter will be deemed unnecessary, obsolete and be relegated to the annals of history.

Until that happens, we remain steadfast in our efforts and our admiration.

LM

 

E-newsletter December 2019                                                                         View this email in your browser
Established in 2016, Kol v’Oz (meaning voice & courage/strength in Hebrew) – which combats child sexual abuse in the global Jewish community through advocacy, education & awareness  – is in a transitional period. We’re growing, and are taking this opportunity to review and strategise.

As we’re a global organisation, one of the things we’re doing is changing the name to English. So, we’re reaching out to see if anyone has any creative and appropriate ideas – we’re looking for something short, appealing and memorable! Feel free to provide me with any feedback you might have – regarding a possible name or anything else of relevance. Thanks in advance, and I look forward to sharing with you the new name, logo, website and other changes in due course! For now, let me welcome our newly-appointed Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer, Ms Noga Shelleg. I look forward to what lies ahead!

As always, below are items of interest – most importantly, details of the next Malka Leifer hearing (and the new live-blogging platform from court), as well as our new partnership with The Jewish Agency.

Warmest,
Manny

Jewish Agency and Kol v’Oz partner to protect children

“We know of 60 convicted and credibly accused perpetrators of child sexual abuse who have made aliyah,” says Manny.

By HANNAH WACHOLDER KATSMAN
DECEMBER 4, 2019
“The concern is that Israel is viewed by many as an ‘ir miklat,’” according to Manny Waks, CEO of the international child protection organization Kol v’Oz. He is referring to the cities of refuge described in the book of Deuteronomy for those whose actions led to an accidental death, therefore protecting them from retaliation by the victim’s family. The case of Malka Leifer, whose ultra-Orthodox school helped her escape with her family to Israel, has sparked outrage in Israel and abroad because of the justice system’s failure to extradite her to Australia to stand trial for abusing three teenage sisters. Although Leifer was born in Israel, her case has called attention to immigrants who made aliyah in the wake of sexual abuse allegations. Keep reading

Israeli Court OKs Evaluation of Australia Sex Crimes Suspect

By The Associated Press
Dec. 3, 2019

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by a former educator accused of sexually abusing students in Australia, paving the way for a new psychiatric evaluation to determine her fitness to stand trial for extradition.

Australia wants Malka Leifer extradited to face 74 charges of abusing students while she was principal at a Jewish religious school in Melbourne. Prosecutors say she is feigning mental illness to dodge extradition. Keep reading

Donate now
The next Malka Leifer court hearing (#62!) details are as follows:

Venue: Jerusalem District Court
Presiding judge: Judge Chana Lomp
Date: Tuesday 10 December (tomorrow)
Time: 9am (Jerusalem), 6pm (Melbourne), 2am (New York)

It’s expected to be a decisive hearing. The court will advise of the new psychiatric panel’s decision regarding Leifer’s fitness to face justice – whether she will finally face the ever-elusive extradition trial (she is wanted by Australia on 74 charges of rape and sexual assault against the three courageous sisters, Nicole, Dassi and Elly).

Once a decision is made, it’s expected that both the Prosecution and Defense will have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, etc. We are not sure of precisely what to expect and when – after 61 court hearings, we expect the unexpected!

Please note that I will be live-blogging from inside the court-room on The Australian Jewish News website (their Home page will have a direct link to the blog before the start of proceedings). Hoping for some semblance of justice to finally prevail!

HEBREW: This is one of the most disturbing stories of pedophilia in Israel. There is consensus that many children have been sexually abused in a religious neighbourhood in Jerusalem (Nachlaot). The rest of it is full of controversies and conspiracies. Tragic, in more ways than one. Hopefully this in-depth investigative journalism will lead somewhere – to justice, prevention and a better understanding of the issues. Watch story
Articles of interest
Shock at Yeshivah – The Australian Jewish News
FBI arrests doctor who had sex with 14-year-old boy
Sexual abuse survivor shares healing message at Orthodox synagogue in Delray
Rabbi Greer headed to prison – New Haven Independent
Utah nanny convicted of all counts in childhood abuse of rabbi
Brooklyn man accuses Hasidic rabbis of child sex abuse in Hebrew ‘hell’
Paedophile synagogue security guard downloaded ‘more than 1,000 indecent child images’
UJA-Federation named in new suit filed under Child Victims Act

One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back… Australia, The Royal Commission and YCL

Shock at Yeshivah

Waks: ‘Goldhirsch is now effectively back in charge of the safety and wellbeing of children, which is a disgrace and yet another slap in the face to victims/survivors’.

THE appointment of former Yeshivah Committee of Management (COM) member Michael Goldhirsch to the Yeshivah Centre Limited (YCL) board has been met with shock by sections of the community.

Chabad Institutions of Victoria Limited (CIVL) announced this week that Goldhirsch is a new member of its board, and that it has nominated him as one of three representatives on the YCL board, which is the roof board of CIVL and Yeshivah and Beth Rivkah Colleges.

Goldhirsch was a member of the COM until soon after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2015.

During the time he was on the COM, children were sexually abused within the organisation and victims were re-victimised when they came forward.

Child sexual abuse victim Manny Waks said he was shocked by the announcement.

“Goldhirsch himself has never privately apologised [to me],” Waks said.

“We had hoped that a ‘new’ Yeshivah leadership would heed the message from the Royal Commission and internally hold to account those who disgraced their institution so badly and caused untold damage to many individuals and to the broader Jewish community.

“Astonishingly, Goldhirsch is now effectively back in charge of the safety and wellbeing of children, which is a disgrace and yet another slap in the face to victims/survivors and our families.”

Goldhirsch was part of the COM that was heavily criticised by Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission Maria Gerace, who stated that the COM hesitated when asked to support victims.

“Evidence shows that the Committee of Management sought advice from Robert Richter QC about the potential criminal liability of Rabbi Glick or others in respect of the (now convicted child sexual abuser) David Cyprys allegations and whether or not the COM should contact victims before writing to the community at large to publicly support victims and their families,” she said.

To continue reading click here.

Delays, Delays, Delays… Malka Leifer, Judge Lomp Do you Think Her Victims Get to Delay Their Nightmares?

Malka Leifer in court in May 2018.

Court orders new psych report for accused child sex abuser Malka Leifer

Jerusalem The Jerusalem District Court has ruled that a new psychiatric report is needed to assess if former Melbourne school principal Malka Leifer is fit to face an extradition trial over child sex abuse allegations.

Judge Chana Miriam Lomp on Monday presented a distant deadline of December 10 for the new assessment to be filed by three psychiatrists, in order for the court to decide if Leifer is truly mentally unfit, or faking her illness.Now at hearing 57, the case to try and bring the former principal of the Ultra- Orthodox Adass Israel school in Elsternwick in Melbourne’s south-east back to Australia to face 74 charges of rape and child sex abuse has met countless delays.

Judge Lomp in court said the evidence she had seen hadn’t reached a significant benchmark to automatically state that Leifer had been feigning her illness and therefore was fit enough to face justice.

Manny Waks, chief executive officer of the child sex abuse prevention group Kol v’Oz, said after the hearing that the decision was the “worst-case scenario”.

“It leaves the entire case in limbo and it’s just prolonging the pain and suffering to Leifer’s alleged victims,” Waks said.

Dassi Erlich, one of the survivors of Leifer’s alleged abuse who has been fighting to bring Leifer back to Australia for eight years, said the ruling left her feeling defeated.

In five years of court hearings, 30 psychiatrists have already been involved in determining if Leifer is fit to face extradition trial.

“How is this not enough? How many more psychiatrists need to weigh in? How much more emotional pain?,” Erlich said after the hearing.

“We are defeated but we will not give up.”Erlich and her two sisters intended to travel to Israel from Melbourne for the court hearing but cancelled their plans due to the continual and exhausting delays in the justice system.”We’ve decided to push off our trip to Israel and reserve our energy until there is more certainty regarding next steps in this long process,” Erlich announced earlier in the month.

Allegations of child sex abuse were first raised against Leifer in 2008.

The continual delays in court and the findings that Israel’s Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman acted to have medical assessments altered in Leifer’s favour has raised question marks around Israel’s judiciary.

To continue reading click here.

Kol V’Oz – Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in the Global Jewish Community

Special Thanks to the Contributor of this Newsletter

 

Dear Lost Messiah,
I’m delighted to announce that Kol v’Oz has been granted Core Participant status in the forthcoming investigation into the UK Jewish community by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). This means that Kol v’Oz and I will be an active part of the Inquiry and will be able to testify, ask questions of witnesses, make submissions, among other benefits. A public hearing will be held in March 2020.

Those of you who followed the monumental Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse would be aware of the significant positive impact this continues to have both in the broader Australian society and more specifically in the Jewish community. We hope and expect this to also be the case in the UK.

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage anyone who has been sexually abused within a Jewish institution in the UK to contact IICSA to share your story. Please feel free to contact me as well (or alternatively, if contacting IICSA is an issue). Please also contact me if you have any information regarding cover-ups and/or intimidation within any UK Jewish institution.

Our colleagues at Migdal Emunah have also received Core Participant status – please feel free to contact them as well. We will continue to work together with Migdal Emunah to ensure the Inquiry is well-equipped to investigate the Jewish community properly and to ultimately make appropriate recommendations to ensure justice is achieved for victims/survivors of child sexual abuse and to ensure the safety of our children today and into the future.

Please share the above information with anyone you think may be interested.

Obviously there are costs to participate in the Inquiry – and for our work more broadly – so if you’re in a position to support us financially, please do so by clicking here. There are tax deductible options available in the US and in Israel. We’re currently working on an Australian option as well. Thank you in advance!

As always, I’ve shared below a range of relevant material.

On this Tisha b’Av, I’d like to share a Kinah from a survivor of child sexual abuse.

Warmest,

Manny Waks
Chief Executive Officer

Debbie Wiener is the former Chair of the now-defunct The Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence. This organisation has caused damage to many in the Jewish community. It has recently come to my attention that Debbie is on the board of a new Jewish organisation that deals with another vulnerable group of people. I feel compelled to protect this group by sharing publicly relevant information.
Israel Police has recommended to charge Deputy Health Minister, Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, in the Malka Leifer case. Click: i24YnetThe Jerusalem PostThe Sydney Morning HeraldThe Jewish ChronicleJ-WireThe Australian Jewish News
In response to the latest sexual scandal involving Chabad, I wrote an oped titled Chabad – a law unto itself. Subsequently, there was a further allegation in the same case, which ultimately prompted the Chabad rabbi to resign from his Rabbinic post (but not as director).
Support our work
Some quotes from a 2008 article, soon after Adass purchased plane tickets for Malka Leifer to evade justice immediately after allegations of child sexual abuse were made against her:

[Adass spokesperson Norman] Rosenbaum said it was “categorically just not true” that the school purchased Leifer’s ticket to Israel after she resigned amid still unconfirmed rumours that she behaved inappropriately toward students.

He denied the school had tried to cover up allegations, and said “the school has not yet received any complaints”.

And a quote from a 2017 article:

The group then told Leifer she would be stood down as the head of the Adass school. But then, in a fateful decision, it was agreed that rather than report Leifer to the police, the principal should be spirited out of the country.

Rosenbaum was reportedly a part of the decision-making group.

All those at Adass who were involved in the cover-up in any way must be held to full account – for justice and to ensure the safety of children today.

The one-year look-back window for New York victims and survivors to sue their abusers or the institutions where the abuse took place commences on 14 August 2019. This was part of the New York Child Victims’ Act, which recently came into effect. We are proud to have been part of a broad coalition, over many years, who successfully lobbied for the archaic laws to change – in spite of fierce opposition from the Catholic Church, the ultra-Orthodox community and others. We encourage everyone who feels they can pursue some semblance of justice to do so. Please ensure to obtain proper legal advice. Click here for additional information.
More hypocrisy from David Werdiger…

Werdiger’s ‘thought of the week’ to members of JBD – Jews of the (Melbourne) CBD tells readers of Hasidic teachings about the power of words which can be used to ‘hurt and to deceive’. Werdiger is especially concerned about ’choos(ing) our words even more carefully’ when it comes to social media.

Yet an independent IT report has found that Werdiger, through Objectivewear Pty Ltd, a Company of which he was a Director and Shareholder, was behind the infamous anonymous blog site ‘The Fifth Chelek’ which was highlighted at the Australian Royal Commission for its anonymous attacks against victims of child sexual abuse, their families and supporters. This blog played a key role in the demonisation of victims/survivors and creating the culture that inspired it.

To date, Werdiger has failed to accept responsibility for his involvement with this blog. Nevertheless, he has continued to preach on the Jewish perspective of using words carefully, decried the fact that because of social media ‘things people have written years or decades ago (privately or publicly) are hauled out to haunt them’ and the closest he has come to an apology is ‘acknowledging that there are things that I have said or done in the past that I would not say or do now’. He has also sought to play a leadership role in reshaping the Constitution of the Yeshivah Centre, notwithstanding his role in the events which led to the Royal Commission and the restructuring of the Yeshivah Centre.

And to be clear, this was not Werdiger’s only infraction.

It’s important for victims/survivors to hold to account those who have wronged them, especially when they continue to preach shamelessly. It’s important to us for the public to know that Werdiger, among others, is a hypocrite.

Manny Waks – Letter to Lost Messiah –

Newsletter 5/2018
View this email in your browser

https://mailchi.mp/770ad6de32b9/newsletter-1947229?e=58da27f930

Dear Lost Messiah,
I write this e-newsletter on the eve of yet another trip back to Australia – this time, to represent many victims/survivors of institutional child sexual abuse within the Australian Jewish community, and their families, at the Federal Government’s National Apology in Canberra on 22 October. My thoughts will also be with those children who were sexually abused overseas due to Australian Jewish institutions’ negligence. I will also think of the vast majority of child sexual abuse victims/survivors within our society; those who were sexually abused within the institution of family.

Hopefully, this Government apology will have its desired effect. Importantly, institutions should not see this apology as absolving them of their responsibilities. Nor should these institutions think that an apology, compensation or other forms of redress on their part will suffice. These institutions have often caused life-long, irreparable damage to so many children under their care. It will take a lifetime to try to heal and repair the damage.

Well done to all concerned, especially former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Royal Commission. It’s a good time to try to heal.

On a personal note, I’ve had a number of successes recently. First, as noted in the last e-newsletter, I expect Australia to seek the extradition of my first abuser, Velvel Serebryanski. Second, I was delighted to reach a financial settlement with the Yeshivah Centre in response to my civil claim against them. But to be clear, despite the settlement reached, I still view this institution to be rotten to the core (see relevant articles below).

Regards,
Manny

• Click here to read my statement re Yeshivah Centre settlement.
• Click here to read  Yeshivah’s statement, and my response.
• Click here to read  Yeshivah’s subsequent clarification regarding the roles of (Rabbis) Groner and Telsner, and my response.
I’d encourage those of you who can to attend this milestone event
Merv Adler (above) was the last Yeshivah Centre Board member to resign in disgrace after the Royal Commission in 2015. He has written the following disgusting comments in a public forum (not his first indiscretion), which reinforces some of what I’ve been saying regarding that rotten institution:

Now that the Yeshivah has embarked on the road of embryonic democracy, is it not up to the Boards and members as to the employment or roles of Rabbis Groner and Telsner? It pains me to say this, but I think it’s time Manny Waks lets go of the Yeshivah. It seems that he is as addicted to the Yeshivah as Pharoah was to his Jews. It might not be perfect, and there could well still be some soul searching left for the Yeshivah, but it’s time to draw the line in the sand and say – what ever has been said, has been said. Whatever has been paid, has been paid. What ever changes were required to be made by the Yeshivah have been made. What ever group photos and apologies were necessary have been taken and given. Time for the Yeshivah and Manny Waks to recognise a complete and comprehensive divorce from each other. As a member of the Yeshivah, it is well and truly enough. Let the Yeshivah go forward from strength to strength and let Manny Waks live the life G-d intended for him. Wishing all a wonderful year and may we all be inscribed in the Book of Life.

And if you’re wondering whether any lay or religious leader spoke out against his vile hate speech, no, not a single one of them did! Further evidence that the community still has a very long way to go. Sad and offensive.

At least my good friend and colleague Phillip Weinberg responded publicly:

What an extraordinary comment from one of the people responsible for the events which led Yeshivah to the Royal Commission and the last one to take responsibility for his horrific failures and to resign.

As you should know, Groner’s role is not up to the Boards and members. He rewarded his failures by appointing himself to the Boards for life. Telsner’s role is indeed up to the Boards and members and the fact that he is still employed there (presumably because he has been doing the Rebbe’s work while attacking victims of child sexual abuse and their families) tells you everything you need to know about the place.

If Manny has an addiction, it is to ensuring the safety of children and that people who behaved appallingly in relation to child sexual abuse are held to account. Some more people with the same affliction in that place would not go astray.

It’s well and good for you, one of the people responsible for the way victims were treated, to say ‘it’s time to draw the line in the sand’ while victims are still hurting.

Rather than ‘a complete and comprehensive divorce from each other’ (as you suggest), Yeshivah should create an environment where Manny Waks and its many other victims feel safe attending Yeshivah and are held up as heroes on account of the Yeshivah children they have saved while those responsible for the mistreatment of victims feel shame whenever they enter the place.

To say ‘what ever changes were required to be made by the Yeshivah have been made’ while people like Telsner and Groner who led Yeshivah to the Royal Commission continue their involvement and cause ongoing suffering to victims is vile and disingenuous.

Once ‘whatever changes were required to be made’ have indeed been made, then ‘let the Yeshivah go forward from strength to strength’.

Until then I hope that Manny continues to shine a light on Yeshivah so that your children and other peoples children can be safe.

Wishing you the insight into your own behavior to seek forgiveness from the people you have hurt and continue to hurt. I suspect another Yom Kippur will be wasted on Yeshivah.

https://www.jewishnews.net.au/all-change-at-the-yeshivah-centre/42341