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 Rabbinic Counsel of Australia and New Zealand (RCANZ) and its Distorted Take… A Lack of Accountability

australian-coat-of-arms

Why the president of RCANZ must stand down

 

THE leading rabbis of Australia have shown a lack of respect for the Australian legal system by ignoring a ruling of three courts and instead focusing on one dissenting opinion, writes Joshua Levi.

After the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the rabbis called time on the tarnished Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia and launched the Rabbinic Council of Australia and New Zealand (RCANZ) as a sign the rabbinate was turning over a new leaf.

“We will look to work together with rabbinic and lay leadership to create a robust rabbinate that the entire community can be proud of and we hope to only bring honour to the community,” Rabbi Paul Lewin, the first president of the organisation said when RCANZ was founded.

Rabbi Lewin said the new organisation would help educate members to face the challenges of the modern rabbinate, develop a code of conduct which all members must adhere to, and represent them more efficiently and effectively to the broader community.

There was so much hope that there would actually be reform, but this week RCANZ has failed the community.

Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, the president of RCANZ, was one of four rabbis of the Sydney Beth Din found guilty of contempt of court by the NSW Supreme Court in December 2017.

He should have immediately stepped aside as president, but several leading rabbis told me that it would inappropriate while he appealed the conviction.

In December 2018, two out of three judges ruled against Rabbi Gutnick and the other rabbis in the NSW Court of Appeal.

When the appeal was rejected, several rabbis on the RCANZ executive couldn’t take it any more and resigned.

Mount Scopus principal Rabbi James Kennard was one of those who quit, noting that RCANZ was meant to provide “much-needed rabbinic leadership with integrity, to demonstrate that rabbis could act with professionalism and accountability”, but it failed because Rabbi Gutnick didn’t resign as president.

“There was silence,” Rabbi Kennard said of RCANZ.

“No resignation, no accountability.

“When the appeal against that verdict was rejected, still silence.”

Rabbi Kennard said at the time that RCANZ joined other rabbinic bodies that fail to police themselves and thus fail the community that they purport to lead.

“It is painful to write these words.

“I do not doubt that I will be condemned by some whom I consider my friends and teachers for speaking publicly.

“But I cannot remain silent when the rabbinate of Australia is prevented from fulfilling its primary task – to provide religious leadership to our community – by the refusal of its representatives to act with the highest standards of integrity, which should be the natural hallmark of any who bear the title ‘rabbi’.”

At the time, rabbis quietly told me that because there was an appeal to the High Court of Australia afoot, that it would be inappropriate to comment and that Rabbi Gutnick should be granted his right to appeal.

Well – last week the High Court of Australia refused to hear that appeal and the case has now come to an end.

To Continue reading the article click here.

 

 

Australia, Yeshivah Center – Child Sexual Abuse and Questions [Part II] – Are the Children Safe?

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse – Letter to Members – “Real and Present Danger”

Thank you to the source of the following letter, sent to LM on the 25th of March, 2019. We apologize for the formatting. The letter was apparently sent out to members of the Yeshivah Center. 

Letter to the Yeshivah Center Community, re: Royal Commission Investigation into Child Sexual Abuse – Part I

Hat Tip to our Source for the following:

 

To the Yeshivah Center Community – Australia

Dear Members of the Yeshivah Community,

My last public email was in June 2011.

In response to that email, and the assistance I provided to the police and the authorities in relation to incidents of child sexual abuse, including rape, at Yeshivah; my family and I have been subjected to bullying, intimidation and ostracism.

The purveyors of this conduct sent e-mails and used blog sites where they anonymously posted vile and abusive comments, as part of the demonization of victims, advocates and their families. This conduct was part of a wider cultural problem at Yeshivah, that manifested in a dangerous environment for children, as was so painfully and publicly exposed by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The purveyors of this conduct acted under the mistaken and perhaps arrogant belief that their identities would never be discovered and exposed. They arguably demonstrated that they feared man, more than G-d, in stark contrast to their projected ‘religious’ identity and self-proclaimed status as ‘yiras shmoyim’ (G-d fearing Jews).

The Yeshivah leadership belatedly and unreservedly publicly pledged and affirmed including to the Royal Commission, that it had ‘zero’ tolerance for such behaviour and its perpetrators.

Sadly, those representations have proven false. Consequently, the integrity of the institution, and the robustness of the child safety policies has been undermined.

The specific identities of purveyors of this conduct is now known.

Recently, Chabad Institutions of Victoria was provided information relating to the identity of 18 people, whose activity has been exposed as a result of various successful legal actions.

These 18 people include:

  1.  at least 1 current member of the Boards of the ‘Yeshivah Centre’;
  2.  at least 2 current employees of the ‘Yeshivah Centre’;
  3.  at least 2 persons who hold a volunteer positions at the ‘Yeshivah Centre’; and
  4.  at least 1 person who is the child of one of the 3 “Head Shluchim” of Chabad in Victoria as determined by Merkos.

To date, Chabad Institutions of Victoria has failed to act on this information and uphold its public promises.

More to come…

 

Good Shabbos.

 

Menachem

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

An Unholy Alliance – The Catholic Church and the Haredim – Sexual Abuse Cover-Ups

 

How could this happen again?’ Why this Catholic abuse scandal seems worse than 2002

 

(CNN)This is how bad things are in the Catholic Church right now: The Pope’s top adviser on clergy sexual abuse canceled a trip to Ireland for a papal event because he has to investigate sexual misconduct in his own seminary.

And Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, isn’t alone. Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, another key papal ally embroiled in the sex abuse crisis, has also canceled his appearance at next week’s World Meeting of Families, a spokesman told CNN.
Consider the litany of recent incidents in the Catholic Church:
• Catholic bishops have launched investigations into sexual misconduct in seminaries in Boston, Nebraska and Philadelphia.
• The former archbishop of Washington resigned from the College of Cardinals after accusations that he molested seminarians and an altar boy.
• A Catholic bishop in Australia was convicted by a civil court of covering up abuse, and the Vatican has accepted the resignations of six bishops from Latin America after church investigations.
• An Associated Press investigation found evidence that priests and bishops around the world have abused Catholic nuns and sisters for decades.
• Next week, the Pope plans to travel to Ireland, where the former president, in an interview with The Irish Times, recently accused a top Vatican official of pressuring her to “protect” incriminating church documents from civil authorities in 2003. The Vatican has declined to comment on the allegation.
But none of the above compares to the stomach-turning, nearly 900-page grand jury report unveiled Tuesday in Pennsylvania.
The report, two years in the making, revealed shocking accusations: More than 1,000 children had been abused by 300 Catholic “predator priests” in six Pennsylvania dioceses during the past 70 years.
The report also said some church leaders covered up the crimes, shuffling priests from rehab centers to parishes, giving no notice to parents or civil authorities.
The state’s attorney general called it the largest investigation ever by a US government into the Catholic Church. The president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops called it a “moral catastrophe.”
“I know that many of you are asking,” Cardinal Blase Cupich wrote to Catholics in his Chicago archdiocese Friday, “how could this be happening again?”
If the Catholic sexual abuse scandal that came to light in 2002 slowly unspooled through news reports, Pennsylvania’s grand jury report landed like an atom bomb, dropping its online horrors all at once. With some redactions, the report was readily available for everyone to read and share: the accusations of sexual deviance, shameless lies and deceitful churchmen.
“What we have now is people freely expressing their outrage on Facebook and Twitter,” said Greg Kandra, a Catholic deacon in Brooklyn, New York. “The anger is palpable. This is like 2002 on steroids.”
To continue reading click here.

 

Child sexual abuse, cover-ups and intimidation — a global Jewish community snapshot

A global Jewish community snapshot in light of revelations in Baltimore, and an ongoing Australian case
Rabbi Steven (Shmuel) Krawatsky, formerly of the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School in Baltimore (via The New York Jewish Week)

Rabbi Steven (Shmuel) Krawatsky, formerly of the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School in Baltimore (via The New York Jewish Week)

In the wake of a recent child sexual abuse scandal to hit the Jewish community, this time in Baltimore, it is an opportune time to examine similar cases around the Jewish world and reflect on how we have responded to them. Learning from these will help us respond more adequately to such scandals in the future.

For this purpose, I will focus on what has recently transpired in Australia and the United Kingdom.

In 2011, during my tenure as Vice President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), I publicly disclosed for the first time that I had been sexually abused as a child by two perpetrators while a student at Melbourne Chabad’s Yeshivah Centre.

While initially applauded by some, this revelation and my subsequent public advocacy on the broader issue of child sexual abuse unleashed a torrent of additional abuse from many quarters, most notably from many within the global Chabad community, including its leaders and their supporters.

The week after the disclosure, Yeshivah’s senior rabbi, Tzvi Hirsch Telsner, asked a question directed at me and my family in his Shabbat sermon: “Who gave you permission to speak?” An Australian Judicial Inquiry, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, later confirmed that Rabbi Telsner effectively intimidated me and my family (and others) in an attempt to silence us.

The intimidation and cover-up attempts came not just from the Chabad community, the centre of the scandal and investigation. Much of it came from the mainstream Jewish community, including those at the highest levels of leadership. Dr Danny Lamm, then president of the ECAJ, publicly supported Yeshivah’s reactions during the scandal, despite clear evidence that they were behaving unconscionably. The ECAJ recently apologised for its part in the scandal, but Lamm has stubbornly refused to do so

To read the remainder of the article, click here:

 

 

Manny Waks – New Wall of Shame – Sexual Abuse and the Royal Commission

 

http://www.mannywaks.com/blog/wall-of-shame#comments