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Melbourne Yeshiva Centre Victim Speaks Out

The Age Australia

Manny Waks grew up in a Lubavitch home. Today, though no longer observant, Manny is vice-president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and president of the Canberra Jewish Community.

Manny Waks’s behaviour started to change part-way through his schooling at Yeshivah College. ”I wasn’t listening to the teachers and was getting into trouble,” Mr. Waks says.

Now, more than 20 years later, he believes his disruptive behaviour, his rebellion against his strict Hasidic upbringing, even the fact he is no longer an observant Jew, can potentially be linked to abuse he says he was subjected to at the Orthodox Jewish school in St Kilda East.

Mr Waks claims he was repeatedly abused by a trusted figure of authority at the school who had unfettered access to the young boys.

“This was a man who was in a position of power and authority, who was trusted by the school and who repeatedly took advantage of his position in preying on young boys who looked up to him.” The 35-year-old Canberra public servant says he was also abused by another member of the Chabad community. One of the alleged incidents is said to have occurred inside a synagogue.

”No wonder I feel so uncomfortable being in a synagogue, because it evokes in my subconscious some of these memories,” Mr Waks says.

As a leader in the Jewish community and a human rights advocate, he believes he has a responsibility to speak publicly for the first time about the abuse he says dogged his childhood. He hopes his story will empower and encourage others to speak to the police or seek the help they may require.

”This is about justice and closure, both for myself and other victims,” says Mr Waks, a vice-president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and president of the ACT Jewish Community, among other senior roles. He wants to hold to account the alleged perpetrators of the crimes and the Yeshivah Centre, which runs the college and which he says betrayed victims by persuading them to remain silent.

Mr Waks also hopes his story will help change the stigma faced by victims of abuse. ”I feel I’ve moved on with my life … you can actually move forward while acknowledging that it has inevitably impacted me in a profound way.”

While some alleged victims of abuse at Yeshivah College have made statements to police, Mr Waks says there are many others, some of whom he knows personally. ”The main reason for the silence is the culture in this segment of the Jewish community to keep these types of issues quiet: it’s my understanding a lot of these victims haven’t even told their wives.”

Allegations of abuse at the college resurfaced last month, after police wrote to former students urging them to contact Crime Stoppers if they had been assaulted between 1989 and 1993. The claims were mainly linked to former Jewish studies teacher David Kramer, who fled Australia in the early 1990s after parents complained he had abused boys.

Yeshivah College, which did not report the complaints to police, was accused of covering up the scandal. Kramer went on to offend in the US, abusing a 12-year-old boy while conducting a youth program at a St Louis synagogue. He was jailed in 2008 and is now serving a seven-year prison sentence.

Mr Waks, who was not abused by Kramer, says there are multiple perpetrators and victims involved in the current police probe. He is furious that Yeshivah College did not take action at the time and says it recently tried to ”defend the indefensible” by suggesting the alleged abuse related to a time before mandatory reporting.

”This lack of basic action is what has ultimately led to perpetrators reoffending and the tally of victims rising.”

And he was distressed by the memories from 20 years ago triggered by the current probe.

Menachem ”Manny” Waks and his 16 siblings grew up in an Orthodox Chabad family in St Kilda East. Mr Waks says he only told one friend about the alleged sexual abuse. But rumours soon circulated and boys started to snigger. Midway through year 7 he left mainstream school and focused purely on a religious studies program at Yeshivah College. When he was 18 he joined the Israeli army and rejected his religious upbringing.

Mr Waks made his first statement to police in 1996. He also told Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner, Yeshivah Centre director. In 2000, after returning to Australia, Mr. Waks was shocked to see his alleged abuser was still in a position of authority at the Yeshivah Centre.

”I said to Rabbi Groner: ‘How can you give this person access to children?’ Rabbi Groner pleaded with me not to take it further. He said to me that [the alleged perpetrator] was getting help from a psychiatrist. I said: ‘Can you guarantee he will not re-offend?’ Rabbi Groner said no and that’s when I walked out. In my attempt to seek justice and closure I felt like I was working against an entrenched culture and system of covering up these crimes at any cost.”

Yeshivah College’s general manager, Nechama Bendet, says Rabbi Groner died in 2008.

”We are therefore not in a position to clarify any communications he is alleged to have made around 15 years ago,” she says. ”The college would like … to make it absolutely clear that it supports and encourages any person who alleges abuse to report the matter to the Victoria Police as the college condemns all forms of child abuse.”

Since learning of the police inquiry last month, Mr Waks has worked closely with police. He is hopeful of arrests soon.

”This is certainly a move I have been anticipating for many years,” he says. ”I do not seek sympathy but rather understanding and support for deciding to bring this important and sensitive issue into the public domain. We need to shatter this insidious code of silence.”

98 Comments

  • 1. Name Names! wrote:

    Every time this subject comes up, there are those who make references to known molesters within the Lubavitch community. Why don’t people name names? Who are you protecting? Certainly not our children. . .

  • 2. Aussie wrote:

    Thank you Manny for speaking up. I hope it helps you heal and encourages others to seek help as well. I wish you that with time you can once again feel comfortable in a shul.

  • 3. brother from the hood wrote:

    kol hakovade menachem waks ..enough is enough ,, let the sickos know , they will get caught , if not today tommoro , but there day will come

  • 4. Eli wrote:

    The saddest part is that the orthodox community protect the predators and not the victims!!!

  • 5. Shlucha wrote:

    Good for you for speaking out! I am so sorry that you went through this but you are doing a massive service to society by reporting these abusers and ensuring they receive the justice they deserve. Hatzlacha!

  • 7. Uri wrote:

    This is gross no one can excuse his lack of observance on an event. We all make concious decisions in life to be religious or not is one of them it’s just like Saying the reason ur not successful is because you saw blood as a child therefore your not a doctor and have no money. If some thing happened to you as a child that must be takin care if but to say that is why you are uncomfortable in Shul or other such things is ridicules. If you have no inner inhibition and pass the buck and allow your self love to shadow over your own faults then your just a 35 year old in a 10 year olds body

  • 9. Mr. Waks = Inspiration wrote:

    #3 and #8, you are entirely out of line (and #7 too!). WHO THE HECK ARE YOU TO JUDGE HIM?? You put yourself in his shoes, you obviously have NO idea what being sexually abused can do to you. So why don’t you all just be quiet and keep your dumb comments to yourselves.
    And I hope this article is an inspiration to all the victims of sexual abuse. PARENTS!!! Speak to your kids about this stuff, tell them to tell you when something like this happens!

  • 10. Thanks for Sharing! wrote:

    I’m sorry you had to go through all this!
    Thank you for sharing, we can never be too careful with our children!

  • 11. C H wrote:

    Agree with number 1, you should provide names. First of all to substantiate your claim and secondly to protect potential victims.

  • 12. to #3 wrote:

    Who’s the local who did “odds and ends”? Does it make it Manny’s fault if he went in the car with the person everyone was warned to avoid? Does this make it right??!!Is Manny to blame?? Your comments are so screwed its not funny

  • 13. Ex-Pat needs an education wrote:

    Ex-Pat you are not concerned, you are uneducated. Many times those children who “March to the beat of their own drummer” are put in more vulnerable situations than other children. They are sent out with principals, shadows, sent out of the classroom, and approached by predators who pose as an understanding friend.

    You are blaming a victim. There is no child deserving of such a violation. Children who have trouble connecting with Yiddishkite need love understanding maybe even a hobby to focus on, but not punishment, and especially they don’t need for their lives to be adversely affected by a violent trespass.

    Do your research. Speak as an educated empathetic human being. Look at Dr. L from a prestegous children’s hospital- a pediatrician who specialized in “helping” troubled children with ADHD, who took his own life after thousands of allegations of abuse. The children had problems and were put in a vulnerable situation with this troubled soul. Yes, the DR. was the troubled one, the children were just that, children!

  • 14. A Fellow Molested Australian wrote:

    #3
    wishful thinking. Rabbi Groner as well as many other leaders in the yeshivah community were totally guilty of assisting these criminals . They were willing to have Kramer continue teaching the children he molested on the condition that he had therapy. Until there was an emergency meeting held in the Waks’ home. And they gave the yeshivah 24 hours to have him shipped out with conditions to inform future employers about his disease, none of which were carried out. is this called zero tolerance ???

    Furthermore, Mr. Waks’ molester ( different sicko from Kramer) remains an active member in the yeshivah centre until this very day!!!!! ( zero tolerance?!?!?!)

    Let’s thank manny for having the courage to come out and speak forth about this and finally put these criminals where they belong.

  • 15. chonyeh wrote:

    manny well said we fully support you. i hear you are doing great things in australia, the sydney shluchim back in the early 90’s knew you were destined for leadership.

  • 16. in recponce to URI !! wrote:

    Your an absolute fool. and inability to see that actual point of the article proves it.

    you clearly grew up in a sheltered extreme environment with parents did nothing to encourage compassion or understanding of others.

    this story is not about blaming or justifying a decision to be non-religious. its about abuse and the emotional effects it can have on someone.
    and yea if you have a traumatic experience then the place it happened will be uncomfortable to go back to, and the effects it has in the development of a person.

  • 17. boiling with anger wrote:

    and to # 7
    I attribute every part of my non-religious lifestyle to my abuser. I’m not religious but I’m definitely more spiritual that I ever was growing up and btw, I was considered a good kid, frum, chassidishe, well behaved, kind, the whole 9. No on knew what I did behind the doors. Now I am strong enough to come out with being me. I’m not afraid of my abuser nor of the judgement of the community.

  • 18. John wrote:

    And what a Chillul Hashem we have with now 3 recent, prominent articles in theage website with the common theme of how molestors get protected in the Jewish community and shipped overseas so that they can offend again.

    And all that has to be done is for the Police to be called and the schools are yotzer.

  • 19. a parent wrote:

    It takes courage to expose this. Kol Hakavod for coming out with this because obviously you are doing it to save our kids. We are all frum chaissidim, but we have to open our eyes and speak to experts as to how to speak to our children abut this and how to protect them. Our community, unfortunately, is not immune!

  • 20. boiling with anger wrote:

    to #3: Are you saying that an abused child who goes back to the perpetrator for whatever reason is now at fault for the abuse? Children are THREATENED not to tell. I know – I’ve been there. I also know I am NOT at fault for returning time and again to my abuser. First undergo the horrors of such a life and then comment on the article. As Mr. Waks noted, he left the observant way of life when he joined the IDF. His lack of acceptance to authority was mentioned as well. So when you say he was given an early discharge due to disobedience, it makes sense. The man was struggling with some things you as someone who hasn’t been abuse will never understand.

  • 21. Very Very Sad……However wrote:

    Very Very Sad……However a huge YASHER KOACH to comments on #3, to take that time and write all this was thoughtful and as said in his comments, “As the saying goes, there are 3 sides to every story, their side, his side AND THE TRUTH… So let us maintain things in proper context.” VERY WELL PUT. ….HaShem Yerachem…..

  • 22. John wrote:

    #3 you should write by the Middle East journalist for The Age, where the simplest black-and-white events get twisted in favour of the Arabs and against the Jews.

    and #8, should we micro-examine and psychoanalyze how you behaved when you were 8 or even now, to protect the establishment and put the blame on you.

    Getting molested by Rabbis and then enduring a cover-up would put most people off. WHY NOT just leave it at that.

    I suppose you were in the Werdiger Hall when all the school-kids were told not to discuss the Kramer affair with anyone?

    Did anyone contact you 20 years ago and offer you councelling or even ask you if you were molested? And as yet, you still haven’t been, the letter came from the Police, not Yeshivah.

    No, let’s negate the whole thing by saying how mischievous Menachem was. Well, I would have been turned off also.

    “And it only happened because we don’t masser”. Well it’s not masser and the same thing happened with Leifer recently, helped by our local orthodox Rabbis, who still haven’t come out and told us what the halacha is. And they can’t because they themselves did the opposite with Leifer.

    Instead of knocking Menachem, you should be praising him for his guts. More affected people should come forward if they are in a position to, (if their SPOUSES know what happended), and go to the police and permanently stop these molestors from possibly molesting more children.

  • 24. TO number 3 wrote:

    Even if he didn’t want to be so orthodox from the get go…….yeshivah should have inspired him to want to be frum.
    Not destroy him as a person!!!!!! Its not a blame it is reality!

  • 25. Devorah wrote:

    Thank you, Manny and CrownHeights.Info for this valuable article… Thank you for creating a platform for orthodox and chabad people to express their anger and frustration at the abuse that has been enabled in our community for too long. People like Manny will help to end it. The fact that people feel the need to judge Manny’s life choices regarding religion or his behaviors as a child is ridiculously out of context considering the urgent topic at hand… it’s reflective of a skewed and limited sense of perspective… Manny has the bravery to own this article and attach his name to it, the anonymous “judges” are the ones trapped in children’s bodies… No behavior of any student or child is relevant in the face of abuse. Thank you, Manny and CrownHeights.Info! Blessed is our true judge, Hashem… we ALL will face true justice…

  • 26. get real! wrote:

    #3, after you have thrown as much dirt as you can at Mr Wax, you have not addressed the issue at all! The issue is that sexual abuse of students was perpetrated in the Lubavitcher Yeshivah College by several (supposedly frum) staff members.

    The only action that appears to have been taken by the Rebbe’s shliach & other senior staff was to try to cover it all up 7 allow perpetrators to continue to have access to children at theat school or other schools. The statements made by the school to the media continue to lack sensitivity & concern for their students.

    The behaviour of Mr Wax does not excuse this in any way at all & your diatribe against him serves no useful purpose. If you think otherwise, you have serious issues.

  • 27. chaim wrote:

    Would the Rebbe be proud that a Lubavitch affiliated site is publicizing this? Or would it pain him?(I am not addressing the actual issue the article refers to). Think about it before posting something.

  • 28. Shliach wrote:

    To #3 well said.

    I know many people who were molested and lead normal lives.

    I also know those who falsely accused others of molesting their child for ulterior motives…

  • 29. Moshiach Now!! wrote:

    no judging on anyone e/one cant understand e/ones situation we need Moshiach Now!!!!

  • 30. no excusse not to follow Torah! wrote:

    the torah is against molestation, yet he uses molestation as his excuse to leave true torah practices?!!

  • 32. Moshe Ben-Levi wrote:

    #3 u r insane!!!!!! if u can justify in any way shape or form the YG admin.

    …telling kids “not to get into a car or be with a predator” is a criminally insane idea!!!!

    was he wearing a T-Shirt saying: stay away I am dangerous?! how ridicules to justify the administration because he is a “local” – that fact makes him 100 X more dangerous….

    Dont know what if any Rabbi YD Groner knew or not… but he knew well that such a person is considered a “Rodeff” according to halacha.

  • 33. Thank you, Mr. Waks wrote:

    What Mr. Waks did by publicly reporting sexual abuse will most probably make our Yeshivas safer for our children.

    I am a proud Lubavitcher Chasid and an admirer of Rabbi Groner. It pains me that Jews from religious families are no longer religious.

    But Mr. Waks religious history is not the issue here, nor is he due criticism for his attempt to identify factors that allow child abusers to ply their trade. EVERYONE should be grateful to Mr. Waks for standing up and doing something difficult that will benefit our community.

    Thank you, Mr. Waks.

  • 34. To #3 wrote:

    The behavior you describe of a challenging personality would be a very typical response to having been abused as a child. Your obnoxious trashing of his person represents the very reason a person would turn away from frumkeit: the majority of frum people prefer to blame the victim. What kind of emesdik lifestyle must such an accusatory ‘frum’ person really be living? Not one I would value. You disgust me.

  • 35. contact please wrote:

    how can i get hold of manny wax.I would need help of how to get a predator in Australia behind bars.

  • 36. Ex-pat in NY wrote:

    How dare anyone pass judgment on anyone who has been a victim. You are brave for fighting a culture of silence, and standing up for what is right. Hopefully, justice will finally be served in Melbourne

  • 37. Don-t embarass Lubavitch wrote:

    Dear editor : please use this revised version of the retarded teenage girl.
    ————————————————————–
    It happened, one Shemini Atseres, that someone,drunk, took
    advantage of a mildly retarded teenage girl, by luring her
    into a private room. According to her account, the offence was limited to inappropriate touching.
    When the parent complained to the Rav, the Rav said like this:
    “I know these guys are grubbe zachen, but what do you want me to do? Do you want to embarass Lubavitch?”

  • 38. Robert wrote:

    To “Concerned Ex-Pat” – your comments in general are really outrageous, but let me address one in particular – I also know Manny, I am sure a lot better than you, and your statements regarding his army service are untrue. More to the point, they are irrelevant to the issue at hand and defame every person who is courageous enough to go to Israel and volunteer to serve in the IDF defending all Jews everywhere – including you. You should be ashamed of yourself, this is a disgusting comment and I hope that those who know who you are able to tell you so because you do not have the courage or decency to identify yourself. This is Loshan Hora of the worst kind. And then to top it off you blame HIM for the abuse he suffered. You say it was HIS fault as a child for placing himself in a position of vulnerability. Surely your self-righteous post is a sin against Hashem and your own people.

  • 39. michush wrote:

    It is true that people like that cannot be in the community. How wise is it to make this article available to our children to read? Maybe this is somethine we have to discuss with them ourselves?

  • 41. VICTIMS COME FORWARD!!! wrote:

    enough is enough we should not suffer any more at the hands of these sick people F%*& the rabbinim they dont do nothing we are in the times were we have to call 911 and put these people behind bars so they can never touch another kid again!! rabbinim feel bad for family and victims feel bad for the family TO THE VICTIM REMEMBER YOU ARE THE VICTIM NOT THE FAMILY OF THE FATHER OR BROTHER OR SISTER WHO MOLESTED YOU !!!!!COME FORWARD NOW AND DONT BE SCARED STAND UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT!! AND SAVE YOUR KIDS!! YOU DONT WANT YOUR KIDS TO GO THRU WHAT YOU WENT THRU!! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH IT WILL NOT BE THROWN UNDER THE RUG ANYMORE!!!

  • 43. aussi wrote:

    i totally beleave manny waks about the incident with rabbi groner! rabbi groner all his life did anything and everything in his power to protect his name and the name of yeshiva college, and its therefore financial backing!
    all of those that have any information MUST report it to the police, and anyone that has information on cases that the yeshiva center did not take the appropriate action should file a lawsuit against the yeshiva center administration!!!

  • 44. to #3 and #8 wrote:

    it seems to me that you have some close relative or friend who is involved in this type of abuse and u are trying to justify the communitys aproach. SHAME ON YOU!

  • 47. NO NEED FOR CHILUL HASHEM wrote:

    Of course it’s great that he reported the abuse to the Police, but to go into a newspaper and shame his school – a school that he sends his children to when he is in melbourne for extended periods of time – is not necessary.
    He could have contacted the police and told them what happened and been willing to testify, he didn’t need to sell himself to the media for some newspaper coverage. There are plenty of ways to get attention that don’t require dragging your school and community in the mud.
    Oh, and I’ve seen him in shule plenty of times and maybe the only discomfort he has is that all the poeople who knew him growing up see how non-religious he is. that would make anyone uncomfortable.

  • 48. Don-t embarass Lubavitch wrote:

    I know of a case, where someone, who got
    drunk on Simchas Torah, took advantage of a
    mildly retarded teenage girl. When the parent
    complained to the Rav, he said something like,
    “I know these guys are grubbe zachen, but what
    do you want to do, embarass Lubavitch?!”

  • 49. mottel wrote:

    to #3 – leaving the country is a cover-up! Rather than their being prosecuted and/or getting help they got to go abroad and re-offend. It is nothing to be proud of

  • 50. JOSH wrote:

    Manny blames his rebellious behavior on the fact that he was molested by someone part of the yeshiva system and in a shul. Yet I’d like to hear him explain why many of his brothers and sisters have followed in his footsteps and given up their faith as well. What excuses will be make for them.

    Mr. Waks if you’re reading these comments please understand, you can not just write an article like this and expect everyone to take your side. It was very brave of you and your family to release this information but it does not end there. You must be prepared to answer questions people might have and not just disappear.

  • 51. L.A.S wrote:

    IT SEEMS THAT MELBOURNE IS THE PLACE TO BE IF YOU WANT TO LIVE A LIFE OF DISTRUST AND HURT. MELBOURNE YESHIVA CENTRE MAY HAVE MOLESTERS IN THEIR SYSTEM (AS MANY YESHIVA SYSTEMS DO) BUT THE MEN ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES TEARING APART STUDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES.

    SOMETIMES I WISH I NEVER WOULD HAVE MOVED HERE.

  • 52. charlie runkel wrote:

    to number 3 maybe the latter was better? wats the matter with u? and by my guess u never served in the idf so dont say why he was dismissed early bc if u know anything about the army its very difficult to leave early so keep quiet. oh and ya i served in a combat unit so i know wat im talking about.and last if by the fact that religeon had even the tiniest bit to do wth it then dont judge him at all

  • 53. dor hashviinik wrote:

    oy poor old sad melbourne……say yechi you get kicked out of shule … molest kids and you get shishi and seat on the mizrach vant ..go figure… lets get our priorities right guys

  • 55. Protecting My Child wrote:

    @Concerned Ex-Pat wrote

    “Rabbi Groner gave them the choice to leave the country immediately or face criminal action.”

    And so Kramer left Aussi to molest the rest of the worlds children, great job exporting your child molesters.

    Thank you Mr. Waks for coming forward, those of us that care about the children of this world, solute you.

  • 56. DLL wrote:

    To Uri, you sound like someone who has never experienced sexual abuse. It does captivate the life, and Judaism as a whole tolerates it, and pushes it under the rug, and it can and is the cause for many people going away from Judaism. It would suit you better to be more sympathetic to others who do experience life altering hard ships.

  • 57. member of lubavitch community melbourne wrote:

    P-U-L-E-E-Z-E
    1.spare me the mercy,
    OF COURSE,he suffered the unspeakable,
    BUT,
    i have read hundred’s of similar accounts concerning christians etc.,as is well known in their culture etc.,and yet in not one such story have i heard someone describe his church — the very place,as becoming uncomfortable,;which synagogue exactly ? All synagogue’s, forever !!!!!
    2.after 20 years you run to the paper,…right.if your’e interested in justice, fine,go the police,to court etc.,no problem.we ALL want justice to be done.but running to the paper nice and calmly more than 20 years later to “bury the hatchet” into an institution which ALL would agree is dedicated to improve the life of jewish youth,……,has nothing to do with justice and everything to do with ulterior motives.
    let us all pray that he find his inner peace.and can TRULY move forward.amen.

  • 58. Zephaniah Waks wrote:

    #3 & #8: blame-the-victim-time again, is it? got a story to explain away all the scores or hundreds of other victims too? you are pathetic.

  • 59. HOPE THIS SAVES OTHER CHILDREN wrote:

    To #7: Years ago, I would have felt the same way, and even would have echoed you words. However, having seen what abuse does to a child- UP CLOSE!- I beg to differ. Sexual abuse absolutely wreaks havoc on a child and has long lasting effects.It also can disrup the entire family life!

    I find your comment an affront to every child who has gone through molestations, and suffers in its wake. I understand your point of view, because it obviously comes strictly from ignorance. Good for you that you don’t really understand the painful and lifelong ramifications of sexual abuse, especially when it happens from someone you believe, and trust and especially when he is in a position of authority and/or is a man “of the cloth”.

    Manny, I don’t know you, but disregard those who taunt you. Those, like me, who are forced to watch my children suffer and struggle with painful pasts, applaud your brave spirit, and hope you will find solace, comfort and healing in the work you do. Good luck!

  • 60. John wrote:

    From
    http://pitputim.wordpress.c

    Thommo on July 8, 2011 at 2:50 am said:

    Meir Shlomo evidently has an imperfect understanding of criminal law in the State of Victoria. If he suspects that a criminal offence has taken place in the State of Victoria, then he is duty bound under the common law to pass on his suspicions to the Victorian Police. His argument that the alleged victims must be willing to go on the record is specious. If his argument were correct, then it would follow that no suspected murder could ever be reported to the police because the alleged victim would be unable to come forward! Again, if his argument were correct, then no sexual or physical abuse of young children could be reported, simply because it could be insisted that the young children were in no position to come forward, go on the record and report the alleged offence to the authorities.

    Indeed, one does not have to be an expert in the criminal law of Victoria to think of hundreds of breaches of the criminal law where there is no specific victim willing to go on the record: health and safety breaches in the workplace for example; hygiene breaches in cafes, restaurants and hospitals. Illegal acts of cruelty against non-human animals. Acts of vandalism or destruction of property observed by passers by. Frankly, the list is almost endless.

    To me, an outsider, the situation here is quite simple and morally unambiguous. Fifteen people have come forward to the Rabbinic Council in Victoria and alleged that one or more criminal offences have taken place against the criminal law of Victoria. The RCV is now duty bound to pass on this information to the Victorian Police. If they fail to do this then at best the RCV becomes morally complicit. At worst, each and every member of the board of the RCV themselves could be charged by the Victorian Police under the criminal law of Victoria with being an accessory after the fact. Therefore, the members of the board of the RCV need to stop prevaricating and procrastinating and ACT.

  • 62. sruli (menachem-s little bro) wrote:

    no 3, 7 & 8 – you should all be embarrased and ashamed that u write such things. menachem is my older brother & ridiculling him and his feelings is almost just as bad as what he went through. The community in melbourne COVERED it all up. everyone knew and no-one acted!!! 20 years later, i think its about time you wake up and smell the coffee! yes, menachem may have not been the model student, and maybe him leaving the religious way of life isnt ONLY because of the abuse he experienced, but from what no.3 wrote it sounds like you agree with all those that made the decision to cover up such acts! according to your words, if a women gets raped whilst walking down the street then she’s too blame? what will you tell her? dont walk down the street after 8pm?!?!? i was present at rabbi groner’s funeral and i definitely dont wish to sully his name, but its about time the truth came out and that the community faces reality and gives answers for its sometimes terrible actions! its because of people like you that im ashamed to say that i come from a religious backround! u disgust me, u embarass the name of chabad or whatever it is that u stand for and people like you should not be allowed to even post such things!
    at least write your name and show that you really believe in what you say!
    MENACHEM: AS YOUR LITTLE BROTHER, I AM VERY PROUD OF YOU! TO HAVE THE GUTS TO SPEAK UP WITH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THERE ARE STILL “PEOPLE” SUCH AS NO.3&7THAT WILL SPEAK AGAINST YOU MUST HAVE BEEN THE HARDEST PART! I RECKON THAT MOST PEOPLE DO SUPPORT YOU AND DO CONDONE SUCH ACTS!IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT 3&7 WILL SAY WHEN A RELIGIOUS VICTIM WILL COME AND SPEAK UP!!!

  • 63. Dovid wrote:

    i am glad that this is being discussed on a lubavitch mainstream website. That doesn’t mean that it is something I am comfortable with but it is definitely important for people to face up to the very unfourtanate realities in our communities.
    Suffice it to say that Melbourne is not the only community with such stories.

  • 64. Mach a saris by the molestors! wrote:

    I also know those who falsely accused others of molesting their child for ulterior motives…

    This will become more and more of a problem if there is no real leadership to take care of the real problem cases. When the real offenders are named and shamed, it will make it easier for anyone who is falsely accused to deal with his tormentors.

    However, the situation is now so bad that when my friend’s young son asked me to help him buckle his belt, I had to think twice. Had it been anywhere that there had been a molestation scandal, I would have had to refuse and tell the kid never to ask anyone but his parents or older brother to do that for him and that when he was older he would understand.

  • 65. melbourne wrote:

    yes rabbi groner was a big tzadik ,he always cared for the safety of children i remember that clearly.but one problem he had if a lubavitshe chusid did some thing wrong he tried very hard to hide it at any cost.the same is true about rabbi beck from the adass shul he is a great tzadik but when a chasishe does abuse he will try to cover up every thing like the case with mrs leifer she abused many girls in the adass school there lives are totally destroyed and the same is true about many other abusers in the adass .chas vesholom iam not blaming rav beck in any way he tried many times to stop but the abusers just laughed at him they knew that he is an eldery man nothing to be scarred of and he would give royal treatment if you were chasidish .for example after rabbi yossy godberg injured one of hundreds of studunts by slaping them on the ear damaging his ear drum rabbi beck made rabbi yossy goldberg promise not to slap but he just laughed at him he knew that there was not going to be any report ,also rabbi shimon opman made a student deaf on one ear for the rest of his life ,(i do not want to publish the name of the victim rite now but every one in adass know who i am talking about even the docters didnt bother making a report

  • 66. Bruce J Cooke wrote:

    What could possibly be the reason for not posting under your true name.
    I can think of a few reasons:
    1/You are a paedophile or equally despicably sympathetic towards paedophiles
    2/You are a victim and are understandably traumatized by what happened to you. You feel embarassed to ‘out youself’.Fair enough.
    3/You have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.You benefit in some way from the corrupt,nepotistic,opaque system that empowers certain people.You will surely be exposed before this is all over.

    Any other reasons for anonymity?You tell me.Perhaps plain cowardice.

  • 67. Bruce J Cooke wrote:

    I used to eat at Rabbi Groners quite often.There was an occasion when the Catholic church was getting a lot of flack because of yet another paedophile priest being exposed.Rabbi Groner explained at the Shabbat table that priestly celibacy was unnatural & this resulted in paedophilia being common.Words to the effect that WE don’t have such issues followed.This was after Kramer had been sent packing.At the time I knew nothing about Kramer or the other alleged paedophiles & was impressed by Rabbi Groners words.I am very unimpressed now.

  • 68. Dear Sruli (comment # 53) wrote:

    without reading the rest yet, Sruli, your comment brought tears to me eyes. You are a Mensch.
    Manny, you are strong (you need to be, as you know)

  • 69. Zephaniah Waks wrote:

    I was going to leave a comment telling the vermin to get back on topic & back into the sewer, & leave my family alone, but thank G-d there are many normal people on this blog doing the job.Keep it up, & get the message out. There is at present a chance with a momemtum to clean the Melbourne Jewish community from this scourge & protect other overseas. I am also in awe of my son’s bravery.

  • 70. Sydney wrote:

    Too bad the name of the abuser was not mentioned in mannys article because according to some comments he is still an active member in the melbourne community ! So how exactly are the current Melbourne children being protected !!!
    The affender deserves to be made public and the community deserve to be protected !!!!
    Who is he ?????

  • 71. chaim wrote:

    Its a sad world and the more i read peoples negative response to someone who went through such pain and hurt the more i realize how selfish we humans are. Have some sympathy, would we want someone judging are pain? is molestation not a big enough excuse to leave what you were as a child, how can you judge? we all have our individualized path, it is not the Chabad philosophy to disrespect someone who is not as you are, it is against what Chabad is. we are supposed to be understanding people with much to learn. i am sad. i am sorry and i wish you well.

  • 72. i don-t think so wrote:

    #58 are you really a shaliach? i hope you have more seichel and rachmanus in your actual shlichus. how is it that you know MANY people who wree molested? they ALL lead normal lives? REALLY NOW???

  • 73. Psychatric Professionla wrote:

    Let me say this VERY clearly: There are absolutely, positively NO acceptable excuses for any form of child molestation. Any person who has even been accused of any form of abuse MUUUUUST be IMMEDIATELY reported to the NON-JEWISH authorities. Al pi halachah a person who is known to be a continuous threat may be sent for punishment to a secular court provided that fair laws are applied equally to all. It has been very VERY clearly proven that abusers almost always repeat their crimes and that no amount of therapy, medication or punishment can stop them. Boruch hashem American (and Australian, Canadian, etc.) laws on sexual abuse are fair and are used fairly by the court system.

    If you have been abused or know of a person who has committed abuses you are absolutely CHIAV AL PI HALACHA to report it to the police. The rabbonim of the batei dinim that have discussed these cases have said that absolutely.

    Furthermore, children who have been abused are far more likely to become drug abusers, alcoholics and even commit suicide R”L. By reporting it you may be saving lives.

  • 74. Malki Rose wrote:

    If anyone has information or would like to make a statement/complaint regarding an incident of sexual abuse , please note… the police can ONLY ACT on this if you get in touch with them!
    You can contact the Detective heading up this case, Scott Dwyer and make a statement, he is a lovely man and will take every complaint seriously and will treat you with respect and confidentiality.
    Detective Scott Dwyer can be reached on +61414 181 311 directly or you can email him at scott.dwyer@police.vic.gov.au

    It’s one thing to write on a blog, but this is how you ACTUALLY create change, so please get in touch with him!
    http://galusaustralis.com/2

  • 75. eli wrote:

    For those yet to be convinced of how important this is,watch the story of Pinny Taub. He is a Chasid from Williamsburg – He told his story at the JBAC sponsored event in Chicago last October on sex abuse.
    http://newjewishmedia.com/2

  • 76. xyz wrote:

    “Melbourne” (that is about the 15th name you have used to make these claims in Failed Messiah GA and who knows where else..):

    You haven’t answered the questions asked of you several times, ie, your mother – Mrs F, was the 2IC of the adass school where all this took place.

    Did you ever tell her?
    If not, why not?
    If yes, what did she do about it?
    If she believed you that such abuse was taking place why did she allow your 7-8 younger brothers to be educated in that school and by that same teacher?
    How come that the allged teacher- who has been there for over 20 years and has probably taught 5-600 doesn’t have anyone else complaining (repeatedly) like you do? In fact many of his earlier students now have their own children being taught by him. Do you think anyone who witnessed such brutality as you allege would allow his own child to be placed in the same situation?

    I truly feel sorry for you, and you shourl urgently seek counselling and treatment.

    Do it for you own sake. Bitterness is obviously eating you up but it is not going to make you feel any better.

  • 77. Alex Fein wrote:

    Concerned Ex-Pat and all your supporters – many of us in the community are reading your words.

    We also hear lashon ha’rah that is spoken and remember who has said what.

    Your haste to blame Manny would make many question your motives.

    When you attempt to intimidate him and others who come forward, you invite speculation.

    I have therefore sent the link to this website to the officer in charge of this investigation.

  • 78. JUST THE FACTS PLEASE wrote:

    just one comment about all of the above.
    one is left with the impression that “staff” or “authority” means a RABBI EMPLOYED by the lubavitch organisation.
    just for the sake of FACTS (and even manny knows this),the person he’s talking about was a 19-22 yr. old ,who “hung” around
    the yeshiva.;not a teacher or rabbi at all,and not employed by the yeshiva in any way.
    so, in essence it’s about one member of a community doing something horrific to another.that it happened in yeshiva is only because it’s a center,people gather there etc.
    this is not an excuse just a clarification.but also to illustrate how manny’s “taking this” to the papers without being more clear defames ALL the good teachers and rabbi’s of the whole school,some 60 people,all because…“shh,shh,shh,…someone…in authority..is guilty….still involved with the school…”
    i beg you please be more accurate

  • 79. joe kaplan wrote:

    one cannot name names OR THEY ME be liable for defaming someone, David Kramer has been named because he has been convicted of the crime but not the others,

  • 80. Big Kiddush Hashem wrote:

    B”H
    Thank you Mr. Waks! You are saving so many children by bringing about this awareness and this is one of the greatest mitzvos anyone can do. Yashar koach!

  • 81. Embi wrote:

    Thanks to Manny Waks speaking out in public, more victims have had the courage to go to the police, and there is a better chance that the perpetrators will be brought to justice. Even more importantly, countless children in the future will not be abused by these people because they know they are being watched. Manny did not bring his school and community into shame by speaking out; his school and community did it to themselves by covering up the abuse and not handling it properly. It is only by people like Manny speaking out that we can remove these sinners from the community.

  • 82. melbourne wrote:

    to xyz
    because of people like you mrs leifer and Rabbi Eizenbach were able to molest so many students and get away with it so easily in the adass school in elsterwick.
    they just flew them to israel and then called police.
    regarding rabbi yossy goldberg the worst child abuser in adass history why his still teaching because many of the adassniks their main priority is to cover up child abuse, thats the away they are trained to do

  • 83. Melbourne mother wrote:

    In Melbourne there’s no reason to publish names as the names are known to most.
    Many here have been molested by various individuals, with nothing being done.
    For those who think that being molested is not a reason for abandoning yiddishkeit think again, Melbourne has a disproportionately high off the derech rate.
    Yeshiva Centre & Rabbi Groner are responsible & it’s time to fess up.
    Don’t shoot the messenger, Menachem Waks is speaking out from personal pain, to deny his pain is nothing short of abuse. I think he’s suffered enough. Protect the kids not an irresponsible establishment.

  • 84. L G wrote:

    Manny you are to only be commended for your bravery in coming forward.
    LONDON STAMFORD HILL WATCH YOUR BACK YOU MAY BE NEXT.

  • 85. e.g. wrote:

    i am troubled by the fact that this article went to the Age. those who read it know very well that it is a left wing paper with a strong anti religious,anti semitic and anti Israel bias.it’s readership will love this story as it portrays both Jews and the Rabbis in a very bad light. friday night a woman who is not yet frum came to my home so upset about this article. she complained that it was on the front page and she just couldn,t see the point. her words were “don’t we have enough anti semitism?” neither she nor i would have minded seeing this article in the local Jewish news, but following the recent articles supporting a ban on shechita, and it’s horrific bias against Israel, we just resent this obvious airing of our dirty laundry to hostile goyim.
    as a Yeshiva parent i would very much like to see the names made public, i don’t understand why charges have not been laid, and perpetrators not prosecuted.
    also, to menachems vorcheimer and waks, i undertand your intentions, but you should understand that this constant Yeshiva bashing in the paper destroys our sons’ school. when a school has a bad reputation it can’t get decent staff and our kids lose out. think before you speak!
    that said, my heart goes out to both menachem(manny) and his parents- may you all heal immediately, with the coming of Moshiach.

  • 87. melbourne mum wrote:

    manny, you are very brave and saving our children by getting the molesters out of the school and hopefully off the streets. I applaud you. I hope the person who molested you will be convicted and his name will get out as an abuser. Making public claims stops people from reoffending. People write that an abuser is still active in melbourne, without writing his name b/c of defamation issues, can we have more information so we know who to warn our kids to keep away from? Manny, I appreciate everything you’ve done till now and would appreciate more information .

  • 88. Ilana Leeds wrote:

    B’H

    The sooner this issue is properly dealt with the better. there is no point in going over old ground about what Rabbi Groner should or should not have done. He is dead and gone to another existence.
    I applaud Manny Waks’s courage. For those of you who say why, after twenty years he comes forward? Think about how he must have felt and what he went through and don’t forget he was a vulnerable kid. Obviously many of the idiots out to criticize Manny have forgotten what it is like to be a young kid – a teenager and you have no idea of the betrayal of trust and the shame that victims feel.
    Who gives a whatever that he is religious or hiloni. He is a Jewish man who still holds great store by his Jewish identity and is actively involved in Jewish things and holds strong Jewish values and lives them. Where were those who were supposed to help and support him when he needed it?
    Yes he has gone away from observance but you do not know his life and how dare you judge him. I know the Waks and they are a good family. The parents gave all they had to raise the children in a Jewish Chasidic environment and don’t forget parenting is often a big learning curve. We all make mistakes,and no one here has the right to judge Manny or his family. They did nothing wrong. they tried to protect their children from a predator and are hoping to further protect children’s lives from being blighted. What is really important is that Manny’s sacrifice of his privacy is not in vain and that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
    I would really like to know how the Satmars deal with child abusers, because too many other ‘frum’ communities are not doing enough to protect our children from these predators.
    Thank G-D people like Manny are coming forward and it will start the ball rolling and people will move to protect the kids instead of sitting on their hands. They must. These people are rodefim.

  • 89. M. Gordon (don-t print my name) wrote:

    I am not trying to excuse anybody or minimize the seriousness of abuse. I just want to point out that until recently there was a lack of awareness (at least here in Melbourne) about these issues. No one including the community leaders understood the perameters and ramifications of abuse not the warped mind of the abuser, nor the extent of the damage to the abused. Keep in mind also that in Australia, teachers were legally allowed to use physical means of discipline in the classroom until the 1970’s. I am not in any way condoning this- I’m just trying to explain the mindset of the times. Thank G-d in recent years the Jewish Taskforce Against Abuse has done a wonderful job educating the community and especially Rabbis about these issues.

  • 90. Get the garbage out! wrote:

    Rabbi Groner A”H is in oilam haemes and cannot speak about what happened anymore. Yes, his judgement was not great but he actually did a lot more than anyone else did at the time as he at least sent the behemas out of his community. Everyone else kept the abusers on staff in those days.

    Now, once and for all, who is left ON STAFF – not some meshugener who hangs around the shul and needs to be drowned in the mikveh or sent to the funny farm – but who actually works in Yeshiva Centre and is an abuser? Those animals must be prosecuted and given the choice of becoming a saris (with Depo Provera if a knife is ossur which I think it is) or doing life in jail.

  • 91. #66 is a professional amhoretz wrote:

    Megaleh ponim batora shelo kahalocho ein lo chelek leolom habo. #66 claims to be giving halocho but he gives no basis for his “psak din”. Everybody should know that mesirah is a SERIOUS issur, much worse than what these so-called “molesters” are supposed to have done. And no, a “molester” is NOT a rodef, and you may NOT masser him, unless you know he’s doing specific things that I don’t believe the people we’re talking about ever did. Even if you heard a rov pasken that the person is a rodef, you need to ask him on what basis he paskened it, and what he assumes the person has done, because if his assumptions are wrong then his psak is worth nothing.

  • 92. MOVE FORWARD...SENSIBLY and PRACTICALLY wrote:

    after reading all of the comments it becomes quite clear that to move forward TWO things have to happen.
    1.the lubavitcher mosad in melbourne where this predator was able to hunt etc.,should begin by making it quite clear to the individual that he must stay away forever from that shul etc.(there are many other lubavitcher shuls where he could daven);then they must do everything within their power—AND EVEN MORE,to assist with the legal proceedings etc…to ensure(as much as possible) that this should never happen again.
    2.manny waks,however,though a victim,and rightfully full of grief etc.,should make clear to the press,and everyone else(in as much public exposure as possible) that this is not about the moysid,it’s that an incident of abuse occured on their premises,etc.,committed by a kranker mentch–a sick twisted person;ultimately making THE WHOLE SCHOOL A VICTIM by sullying it’s name and sterling reputation FOREVER…..etc.etc. etc.
    in my very humble opinion as long as the above TWO things do not happen,we will be eternally left with that very familiar condition called “finger-pointing”,all those in support of manny pointing at yeshiva,on the other hand,all those in support of yeshiva pointing at the manny camp—————-end result pirud halivuvois,discord and disunity .terminal paralysis with no cure in sight.

  • 94. to #92 wrote:

    to #92- Your suggestion that the perp should be discouraged from davenning in the Yeshivah shule and instead daven elsewhere, smacks of the same ignorance that got Yeshivah into the mess in the first place- you claim that there are other shules he can attend. Do you not realise that by doing this, he will find a whole new set of innocent victims??The only way to deal with this appropriately is to lay criminal charges and remove this perp from society. That is the only decent, moral thing to do.

  • 95. To #92 wrote:

    Sterling reputation ??? Are you kidding?
    The place is corrupted to the core.
    Move the molester to another shul, very stupid & irresponsible.
    Clean the place up, get rid of corruption & don’t punish the victims.
    The moyisad is not an end in itself, it’s there for the people, when it fails in it’s basic role to hell with it!

  • 96. Get the garbage out! wrote:

    The perp should daven elsewhere.

    He should daven in a jail cell, alone or with others of his ilk.

  • 97. Rikki K wrote:

    It is saddens and angers me to hear how the chabad community doesn’t want these disgusting acts of abuse to be publicized in order to protect the holy lubavitch name. Unfortunately these acts happen too often and if they’re not spoken about they will continue to ruin people’s lives.

    It is very brave of Menachem to come forward (especially being a leader in a community!) and publicize his experience for the purpose of helping others.

    For those commentators placing doubt and blame on victims of sexual abuse are lacking compassion and knowledge of what really goes on in this world.

  • 98. Concerned Parents wrote:

    Manny, yasher koach for your courage in making this public.

    As parents of children in Yeshivah school in Melbourne, we hope that Mrs Nechama Bendet, Don Wolf, Chaim New and the Executive of the Yeshivah Centre will now take decisive action as follows:

    1.Give the students full reassurance that they should always feel safe to come forward with any information relevant to these type of deviant acts r”l.
    2.Contact any former students who may have been abused and deal with them in a mentschliche way.
    3. Offer to pay for psychological counselling for any victims of abuse perpretrated by members of the Yeshivah community, or on the Yeshivah’s grounds.
    4.Promise the parents that should such events take place in the future they will immediately contact the police and have the law deal with the offenders.

    Only then will we as parents feel that this issue is being dealt with properly and responsibly.

    A word of caution to parents, be wary of your childdren using the rest rooms in places like parks, without parental supervision.

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