Rebbetzin issues an apology to Manny Waks

October 7, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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Rebbetzin Pnina Feldman has issued an apology to child sexual abuse advocate Manny Waks for language used in an email sent to the found of Tzedek on the eve of Yom Kippur.

Following the apology, J-Wire publishes the original chain of correspondence between Pnina Feldman and Manny Waks.

Rebbetzin Feldman is wife of Head Chabad Emissary to NSW/Spiritual Leader of Sydney’s Yeshiva Centre, Rabbi Pinchus Feldman and is the most senior Chabad Rebbetzin/woman in Australia. Rabbi Feldman came to Australia from Brooklyn in 1968 at the behest of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Manny Waks is the founder of Tzedek, an advocacy group established to assist vicitms of child sexual abuse.

From Rebbetzin Pnina Feldman to Manny Waks:

Rebbetzin Pnina Feldman

Rebbetzin Pnina Feldman

Recently I received an email directly from the Waks family requesting that I sign a petition against Yeshivah in Melbourne.

I did not read the email at the time and only opened it on Friday as I was going through my unread emails.

As it was the day before Yom Kippur, the day of atonement and a time of introspection, I personally decided to respond to the email by sending a private email to Manny Waks, which he has chosen to publicise.

The intent of the email was that I agree with all efforts to prosecute pedophiles but take issue with some aspects of Manny’s crusade against Melbourne Yeshivah, one example being the trumped up and ludicrous accusations levelled against Rabbi Avrohom Glick, which Manny ultimately apologised for.

In the email I also offered Manny some personal advice, being that Yeshiva in Sydney provided significant support and succor to him when he was a teenager and I do care for his wellbeing.

In my robust and emotional email I employed offensive language which I remorsefully regret and unreservedly apologize for.

I also want to apologize for any perceived trivialization of the impact of child abuse on victims.

Molestation is a devastating crime, violating the intimacy and innocence of the pure and defenseless. The victim is left feeling that there is something wrong with the world in which he or she lives. Perpetrators of molestation should be reported to the police and prosecuted appropriately. Any person, organization or entity that stands by silently is abetting in the crime and must do everything in its power to ensure that children are safe at all times.

May G-d bless all those who engage in the important and holy work of advancing child protection and safety, both physically and spiritually.

Manny Waks ‘s reaction to the apology. “I’m pleased that Rebbetzin Feldman has now publicly apologised for her vile and offensive email. I accept her apology despite the fact that:
• she’s a repeat offender (she has previously publicly attacked my family as “massers” – collaborators by cooperating with the police regarding these matters);
• the apology was reportedly made due to rabbinic pressure; and
• she has not sent the apology directly to me (although she has my contact details).

I do not intend to address some of the falsehoods and inaccuracies contained in her public statement. As I said, I accept her apology and we can now move on.”

The original e-mail sent by Waks’s father:

I pass this on because I believe it is very important. I am happy to give more information as to the background of this, by email or telephone.
Cheers,
Zephaniah Waks

From: Manny Waks
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2014 08:54
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Grassroots petition re Yeshivah

Hi,

Manny Waks

Manny Waks

This email is to advise of a grassroots petition which has been launched today by Jews for Justice for Yeshivah’s Victims (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jews-for-Justice-for-Yeshivahs-Victims/590380737735279). This is not a Tzedek petition. Tzedek was consulted regarding the impact such a petition would have on the victims. It is our view that it would be warmly welcomed by most.

Petition: https://www.change.org/p/rabbi-avrohom-glick-and-don-wolf-apologise-to-the-innocent-victims-who-were-sexually-abused-as-children-on-your-watch-and-resign-from-all-positions-of-leadership

The Age article: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/petition-calls-for-senior-yeshivah-leaders-to-resign-20140921-10jrm7.html

Please consider signing this petition and sharing it widely. It is the right thing to do for the many victims and it is the right thing to do for our community. Please take a stand.

Enough! No more silence.

Thanks & regards,
Manny


Manny Waks
Founder & CEO
Tzedek
www.tzedek.org.au

Rebbetzin Feldman says she only read this on Erev Yom Kippur and sent the following email in response. The apology issued relates to part of its content:

From: Pnina Feldman
Sent: Friday, October 3, 2014 05:11
To: waks wigs
Subject: Re: Grassroots petition re Yeshivah Centre Melbourne

Hi Manny,
Why do you keep highlighting Yeshiva?! Before the pedophile issues you went running to The Age re BER issues. There’s always something with you and Yeshiva. Get over it already- whatever it is that makes you think that attacking Yeshiva justifies your not being frum. There is something very ugly and personal about your antiYeshiva campaign. Just because a security guard molested you don’t blame Yeshiva!

 

[At this point the Rebbetzin makes reference to an incident of sexual abuse which J-Wire understands happened 50 years ago. The perpetrator committed suicide less than a year after the incident.]

I haven’t met a person yet with one nice word to say about you. Most people consider you a lowlife- not because of any molestation,which wasn’t your fault, but because of your malicious blame game which is unjust, unwarranted, undeserved and wicked. The person you hurt most by that is yourself and your own psyche and spiritual and emotional wellbeing. I realise you may go on hate campaign against me now, but like yourself, I have no fear in saying it as it is when I feel passionate about something.
Erev Yom Kippur. Get the pedophiles. That’s fine. But get the hate out of your heart or at least try to control it. That hate is very bad for you personally as it doesn’t allow you peace of mind or any form of internal harmony or happiness.
Words from the heart.
A Gmar Tov to you and yours,
Rebzn Pnina Feldman

Manny Waks’s reply to Rebbetzin Feldman:

Dear Rebbetzin Pnina Feldman,

 

Last night I didn’t attend synagogue for Kol Nidrei. Instead, I reflected on your email, on the callousness of your words. You may not be aware that, sadly, a synagogue is one of the most uncomfortable places for me to be in. This may have something to do with the fact that I was sexually abused inside a synagogue – inside the Melbourne Yeshivah synagogue.

 

It seems clear that you have no insight into the long-term and often profound impact of child sexual abuse. Perhaps my Victim Impact Statement, which I read out in court on 16 December 2013, will shed some light: http://www.tzedek.org.au/victims-testimonies.html#Manny%20Waks

Perhaps the Victim Impact Statement of another Melbourne Yeshivah victim, which I read out in court on their behalf, will be of value:http://www.tzedek.org.au/victims-testimonies.html#Victim%20Impact%20Statement:%20David%20Kramer%20case

And tragically there are many others available as well.

Let me be clear, I do not seek sympathy. I seek understanding. I seek compassion. For myself, and for the many other victims of child sexual abuse, many of whom endured unspeakable pain – both during the abuse itself and subsequently.

Even if we take the most conservative estimate of the number of victims of child sexual abuse within the broader community – around 1 in 10 children are sexually abused before they turn 18 (some estimate it at around 1 in 5) – it is clear that the scourge of child sexual abuse is endemic. Nothing suggests that it is any different within the Jewish community. In fact, I would argue that there is now sufficient anecdotal evidence to suggest that the rates would be even higher within our community.

Regardless, it would seem reasonable to assume that you would know victims of abuse, perhaps even a friend or a relative. In all likelihood you would not be aware of this as they would probably not feel comfortable disclosing their abuse to someone with the views that you hold. If anyone has indeed disclosed their abuse to you, I shudder to think the ramifications of that conversation.

I deliberately chose to send this email to you now – the exact time that you would be sitting in synagogue for what is one of the most important prayers, Neilah. As you would know, it is the closing prayer on this most sacred day in the Jewish calendar. It is when you are expected to ask God to accept your repentance, and ask to be sealed in the Book of Life. I sincerely hope that you have indeed repented for the damage that you have caused, not least to our community. And of course I hope that God, if indeed He exists, grants you a long life.

Notwithstanding the damage you have caused, I would also like to express my appreciation for providing me with the opportunity to continue to raise awareness of the issue of child sexual abuse. Thankfully the decades of silence have been replaced by the desire to learn and improve, and to correct past wrongs – at least for most within our community. While significant progress has been made, your email – and the views and actions of some of your colleagues – highlights just how far we still have to go. So thank you.

As a matter of courtesy, below is the public statement I issued yesterday in response to your email.

Wishing you well, especially in your capacity to say and do the right things in the future.

 

Manny Waks

Manny Waks then issued the following statement:

“I’m truly shocked and horrified that Rebbetzin Feldman has deliberately chosen the eve of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and the most sacred day in the Jewish calendar, to launch an unprovoked, vile and offensive tirade against me.

Although I have become accustomed to these types of attacks from some within the Chabad community – including their leadership – since going public with the abuse I suffered as a member of the Yeshivah community, and the subsequent cover up by those still in charge of the school, Rebbetzin Feldman’s email is unprecedented in its viciousness and intimidation. As such, I have referred the matter to police for their possible action. I will not be intimidated by the misguided Rebbetzin, and will continue my important work on behalf of many victims – including those within both the Melbourne and Sydney Chabad Yeshiva(h) institutions – for the sake of justice and to minimise the risks to our children into the future.

J-Wire has omitted reference to the sexual abuse incident as it is satisfied it is irrelevant

Rebbetzin Feldman then made the following statement to media:

Recently I received an email directly from the Waks family requesting that I sign a petition against Yeshivah in Melbourne.

I did not read the email at the time and only opened it early this morning as I was going through my unread emails.

As today is the eve of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, and a time of introspection, I decided to respond to the email by sending a private email to Manny Waks.

The email speaks for itself and I do not intend to comment publicly about an email that I sent to one individual on a private basis. If Manny has decided to publicise this email then that is his choice.

If the media deems this matter newsworthy, I would expect that they print the email in its entirety, so that that individual quotes should not be taken out of context.

I wish Manny Waks and his entire family only blessings and a happy and healthy sweet new year.

Rebbetzin Feldman is wife of Head Chabad Emissary to NSW/Spiritual Leader of Sydney’s Yeshiva Centre, Rabbi Pinchus Feldman and is the most senior Chabad Rebbetzin/woman in Australia;

Manny Waks is the founder of Tzedek, an advocacy group established to assist vicitms of child sexual abuse.

 

 

 

 

Comments

43 Responses to “Rebbetzin issues an apology to Manny Waks”
  1. ben gershon says:

    Otto

    ” the respected Rebbetzin, ” ? by whom?

    ben

  2. Liat Nagar says:

    Dear Otto,
    Thank you for your last posting. We’re just about grinding to a halt on this issue, I think, you with your view and me with mine. We have different priorities that colour our different perspectives, and neither of us can claim full knowledge or 100% correctness as more distanced bystanders in the event.

    You say your position has been one of disapproval of a lot of things Manny Waks is known for. And therein lies one of the problems. Each single situation or instance should be viewed for what it is and not coloured by things people are ‘known for’. This is why with court situations juries cannot be acquainted with a previous history of someone accused, or with publicity and gossip surrounding the accused person. To have strong conviction can be a dangerous thing, as it can automatically causes blindness to other possibilities. The older I get the more I learn, but the less I know.

    Well, we are not judges or juries and I am not privy to community Jewish gossip and beliefs. My opinion is based on the more stark simplicity of what I had before me. As a writer, I maintain that the tonality and choice of words can often give a person away (it’s more than difficult to trick the written word), and unfortunately for the Rebbetzin that’s what happened in her case. Beyond that is the complexity of her position in life and her situation, as well as any history relating to all of that. I am sure she has many fine qualities, however through her words we’ve seen the less than fine qualities. The fact is she let Manny Waks down in her earlier email and she also let herself down. Yes, she apologised, as I said before, for whatever reason. So, this matter in this regard is done and dusted.

    However, the issue of sexual abuse in religious and other institutions, and how that is handled, is far from done and dusted. And that is what provokes my interest and my concern.

    Perhaps let’s leave it at that. I look forward to discussing other issues with you, including the huge topic of Judaism, in the future. If you are still in Bucharest (I hope I’m not mistaken with the city), continue to have a rich and meaningful time.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Thanks Liat
      Ten days in Bucharest offer you the same as ten weeks in Sydney in classical concerts as an example.

      Will see you on some other topics across the page….

  3. Liat Nagar says:

    Dear Otto,
    Regarding the Rebbetzin’s apology (to which I have not referred before this), my reading of it does not accord with yours. There are all kinds of apologies made in this world for all sorts of reasons. I have a problem with the Rebbetzin’s for two reasons: i/ it was not sent directly to Manny Waks, the person to whom she should be apologising, and ii/ the ‘intent’ of her original, offensive email, as expressed in her apology, can nowhere be found in that original email. She professes to care for Manny Waks’ wellbeing and says she offered him ‘some personal advice’!! See: “I haven’t met a person yet with one nice word to say about you. Most people consider you a lowlife – not because of any molestation, which wasn’t your fault [well, as if it would be! – LN], but because of your malicious blame game which is unjust, unwarranted, undeserved and wicked. The person you hurt most by that is yourself and your own psyche and spiritual and emotional wellbeing. … Erev Yom Kippur. Get the pedophiles (sic). That’s fine. But get the hate out of your heart or at least try to control it. That hate is very bad for you personally as it doesn’t allow you peace of mind or any form of internal harmony or happiness.’ Well, that’s some personal advice!! Bound to help a hurt person. Bound to make a difference with good in mind. This is nothing but an attack, perhaps even one of desperation, which vents her own self on Waks because she just wants him to shut up.

    I have no way of knowing whether the Rebbetzin ‘remorsefully regrets the offensive language she employed’ to Manny Waks because of the hurt received by him from it or due to the impact knowledge of her words has had publicly. That she trivialised the impact of child abuse victims is certainly so, and I would like to believe that she regrets that.

    In the Jewish tradition, during Rosh HaShanah, redemption through apology can only be granted by the individual you apologise to, not G-d or anyone else.

    I do wish you would employ the kind of angry, dark energy you have in your last posting to me onto subjects worthy of it.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat

      After revisiting the Rebbetzin’s comments , part of which she apologised for, I felt that all my comments on the same have been justified.
      Because I feel that I should not leave your last posting unanswered, while I am repeating myself, I find it necessary to say that, without the words for which apologies were rendered, the substance is 100% accurate. In addition I sensed also a kindred spirit, why not considerate maternal, in the core advice given to your adopted “protege”.
      Let’s clarify a few details. I have NEVER laid eyes on either Manny, nor on the respected Rebbetzin, never had a personal conversation, as in verbal to either, yet, my position has been one of disapproval of a lot of things Manny Waks is known for. All my positions are based on strong convictions and I exchange views with you as I find necessary to apply myself to what I consider important, even if the issues may seem to some unrelated to what has started the whole story. Must add that I do not imporvise just to look “cute”, but I am very careful in what I put down on this important public forum.

  4. Liat Nagar says:

    Otto,
    The issue at hand is not the manner in which Tzedek has sought proper recognition of the abuse perpetrated. The issue at hand is the abuse itself and the way those in authority have behaved in relation to it. Indeed, in regard to the Rebbetzin, perpetuated that behaviour. (She must really be regretting showing her true nature and intent in that damaging email to Manny Waks, because it pricks the balloon in a big way, gets right through the righteous veneer covering so much weakness and ineptitude!)
    If ‘child protection (was) paramount’ in your priorities you would cease forthwith any ‘”theoretical” incursions and get down to the fundamentals of human pain and suffering. I can’t put it any better than Ben Gerson, with his absolutely pertinent questions:
    Has the Rebbetzin acted badly? – Yes
    Have Manny and his father been abused? – Yes
    Has Manny raised an issue that has needed to be raised for a long time? – Yes
    I shall add another one: Is it important to address and redress that issue? – Yes

    That you cannot bring yourself to specifically address these questions, but resort to hiding behind the comfort blanket of religion speaks volumes. I am happy to discuss with you at another time all the anomalies associated with humans and the way they practise religion, and why they do, and the religion itself, in this case Judaism, at another time. But right now, try as hard as you can to face the specifics of THIS human issue. It’s staring you in the face and you’re turning away. It’s probable you’re turning away because you don’t want the world you have constructed for yourself within your own psyche to be changed or affected one iota.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat

      It is a repulsive visceral vengeful person who uses redemption – see the apology of the Rebetzin – as perpetuation of admission of guilt. It is highly immoral to exploit and abuse one’s humble gesture of apologising in order to further and more deeply accuse that person of what an apology has been made, particularly when the “transgression” is of a minor nature, a few words used with the passion of someone genuinely dedicated to a belief.
      Manny Waks wallows in this visceral drive to promote himself over anyone and anything, he wants prevalence on issues he adopts and carries the flames which burn all and sundry, not just to “enlighten” the “causes” he claims legitimate.

  5. Liat Nagar says:

    Otto,
    The definition of ‘edict’ is that of an order proclaimed by authority. Please let us not play around with semantics; it’s a waste of time and energy. On the one hand you have laws or rules associated with the strict practice of Judaism, which laws or rules can be seen as orders proclaimed by authority, that authority being G-d’s word, or the reinforcement of that word by the interpretation of sages and Rabbis. On the other hand you have, as you say (and I am aware of), the delight in comparing rabbinical opinions, and the ongoing debate encouraged by sages and teachers (resulting sometimes in additional Talmud entries). All of this keeps Judaism alive and well. You mention Hashem’s Word, and although it is not to be ‘competed’ with, for understanding of any kind it at least has to be interpreted as a process of understanding, and we have fallible human beings doing the interpreting and fallible human beings making decisions as to how to act.

    None of this has anything to do with the subject we are arguing about – must I say it again! – sexual abuse within a synagogue and the failure of those in authority to deal with it satisfactorily. As much as I enjoy discussing Judaism, the fine points of it are irrelevant to what has actually taken place here, and we have moral responsibility as individuals to acknowledge hurt and injury inflicted, mistakes made, and separate that from a more general and blind embrace of Judaism that would seek to exclude it or hide it. It has nothing to do with devaluing Judaism, it only devalues those who behave immorally within the framework of Judaism.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat

      I just love it. Rarely I had the occasion to apply my favourite retort to: “Let’s not talk semantics !” with my own : LET’S TALK SEMANTICS !!!!
      In a nice and elegant rhetorical serpentine I see that we have agreed with what I proposed regarding how to approach Judaism and, subsequently, that the issue at hand, the manner in which the Tzedek protagonists have been manipulating the same, is in contradiction with what must be respected, observed in order to maintain a consequent logic and deference of the same spiritual, ethical source.
      Mind you, I never departed from the notion that child protection is paramount within each of my “theoretical” incursions. I noticed with satisfaction that you do not disagree with me on essentials and, as I said, semantics the way I put them, are in perfect order. That is to say that “edicts” are not of infinite validity, unlike the fundamentals of the Torah. Therefore a certain edict is there to be abrogated in due course, hence its transitional “value”. These are necessary semantic propositions !!!
      Can’t wait to be contradicted…….

    • ben gershon says:

      Otto

      much words and space you have wasted and it comes down to has the rabtzin acted badly?

      for me yes

      has Manny and his father abused

      for me yes

      has Manny raised an issue that need to be raised for along time

      for me yes

      all your excuses have not answered this simple questions

      ben

      • Otto Waldmann says:

        ben
        much lack of intellectual patience you have displayed expressed so succintly, yet in a convincing manner.
        So that your level can comprehend:

        did you get the gist of my explanations of the issues relevant: NO

        are you cutting in into a complex discussion well above your station :YES

        do I consider your opinions: ……..sure (!!!!!!)

  6. Liat Nagar says:

    Otto,
    You may only use (sic) to distinguish between an incorrect spelling or presentation of a word, such as ‘insure (sic)’ when it should have been ‘ensure’ within the context of the sentence. You do not use it in order to voice your disagreement with the opinion or statement of the writer. You may think of my writing as general and/or superficial, however, if we examine your syntax and mine, I think it clear that yours is general and sometimes convoluted, while mine is more specific and simple in use of language (by ‘simple’, I don’t mean the ideas expressed but rather the language in which those ideas are conveyed). There is nothing wrong with use of analogies if they’re appropriate. Power is power, whether in politics or the hierarchy within religious institutions or corporations. You wouldn’t say, for instance, that the Vatican in Rome was without politics because it was a religious institution – in fact it reeks of politics regardless of the good or bad people involved in it. It is ‘way out of rational dimensions’ to consider that politics doesn’t play a part in Jewish religious institutions; of course it does, and this fact does not mean that there are not many highly ethical people in Yeshivot or Rabbis in synagogues – it simply means that human failings and errors can occur when you have to the forefront the need to protect the reputation of the institution at any cost, even at the cost of truth and abuse.

    If it is ‘the solidity in morality of Judaism’ that is important, then all the more reason to expose and repair weaknesses, such as the main subject of concern, the sexual abuse of Manny Waks, and others, within our own Jewish world, and the more than inadequate response of those in authority to deal with it. Therein lies the rub, Otto. The solidity in morality of Judaism must not only be seen to be so, but must actually be so.

    I take it your reference to ‘minian’ is referring to a minyan, and don’t consider it a good analogy with community or communal entity, due to its restrictive nature. For a start, women are not represented in a minyan, and a community comprises around 50 per cent women. Also, if you know anything at all about crowd psychology, you will know that ways of thinking and behaviour are very much dictated by additional numbers to a group, often not to the good, as a more primitive mentality can kick in, thereby affecting decisions negatively. None of my opinions seek to attack Judaism, much of which I love. I will, however, never allow myself not to question and never allow myself to put aside a known truth that impinges badly on it for the sake of it. That’s my particular personal brand of ethics.

  7. Liat Nagar says:

    Dear Otto,

    I’m not sure why you’ve included ‘(sic)’ after my reference to ‘edicts’, as ‘sic’ should only be used when you’re quoting something as it appears incorrectly and therefore you’re distancing yourself from the mistake. Edicts are orders proclaimed by those in authority and so perfectly fitting to my statement. As to the notion of being frumm being a ‘moral necessity’, that is a highly subjective opinion, most especially when one considers the awful inversion that can take place of the good intention of the 613 Jewish rules of frumm practice if they are used in an inhumane way by mere mortals! The moral then becomes immoral.

    Unfortunately, it is not possible sometimes to achieve justice for wrongs done without harming institutions or governments. Hence the resignation of some individuals in high positions, particularly in politics, when they have not carried through appropriately or effectively actions to right wrongs done. Somebody has to be responsible and take the flak, or conversely be outspoken publicly with complete honesty to the issue. The line of decency was more than crossed with the abuse performed and it was crossed again by attempts to deal with it in-house as it were, albeit completely unsatisfactorily. That is the only issue of importance here. Judaism itself is strong enough to survive while there are worthwhile people around to practice it. Silence and undercover work is a dangerous procedure to follow in responding to abuse, as it does not pave the way for protecting future generations from the same abuse and it certainly doesn’t assist the abused in any way at all.

    Your attitude and reaction to specific and individual realities such as we have with the Waks case can’t speak to it adequately at all, because you distance yourself from all things that are not quantitative. You are only concerned with supporting the Jewish establishment as Yeshiva and the Jewish community as in Orthodox, which is ideological as a stand and therefore loses specific shape and meaning due to generality. The reality of specific acts that have taken place by individuals within the establishment come a poor second place and attract rather bland and offhand acknowledgement. Therein lies the problem, at least for those unfortunate enough to be afflicted by the kind of adversity we’re discussing here within religious communities. Your description of a ‘legitimate Jewish communal’ is similarly vague, again because it rests on generalities. There are many different kinds of Jews, and even different kinds of Jewish communities, and it is not for anyone to say that one is superior to another or that one is legitimate and another not.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat

      -“sic” was used carefully simply because , believe it or not, your generalisations and/or superficial, hence irrelevant definitory statements , engender a complex philosophy inadequate based on idiosyncratic attitudes/statements ALLOWED within the structure of the Judaic practices but NOT determinant in the essential manner regarding obligatory general compliance. This is so amply exemplified by the contradictory “edicts” proclaimed by individual , however locally edified and revered authorities ( all those wonderful Tzedekim – NOTHING to do with the Tzedek we are discussing here, mind you !!!- ) Indeed, Judaism is much bigger/stronger than that although we sometimes endure the stubborness of some peripheral , centrifugal groups, such as Szatmar etc.
      In our concise (!!!) exchanges I do not propose to delve much more into this incredibly complex subject.

      Considering also that I do not “practice” analogies, yours with the political domain is way out of rational dimensions.
      Let’s stick to our topic at hand.

      The Waks enterprise may not acquire full legitimacy simply because they are just as stubborn, while employing all manner of tactics in reaching ends which, in degrees I already explained, run contrary to what our main subject demands, i.e. the solidity in morality of Judaism.
      Once again, a legitimate communal entity is , so simply, based on numbers, same as a minian without which not much can be done/achieved in the same practices.This is theonly analogy I would allow myself because it makes sense, it does not depart at all from the rational perimeter of our discussion.
      I already covered the relevance of the “in house” ethical practices

      • Otto Waldmann says:

        I must tidy up my 1st para re “sic’. At the time the wi-fi connection was all over the place – the place being Bucharest, Romania – and kept cutting off my otherwise fluent phrase (sic) .

        So, when extrapolating with obvious tendencies, one – that’s you – takes a side or tangent and expands it into general definitory.
        In our case, Judaism does not run on “edicts”. True, we delight in comparing rabbinical opinions, but they are NOT normative, in fact sages invite debate, while sounding determined. It is the NORMATIVE concept that, when referring to Hashem’s Word one must NOT compete with what was Given, Talmud or not. In addition, as said before, it is the implicit function of the learned in our midst to constantly adjust to temporal requirements, develop understanding while NOT departing from fundamentals.This is the unequal beauty/value of Judaism.

  8. Liat Nagar says:

    Dear Otto,
    The only thing that can really cause harm to the Jewish establishment is the behaviour of the people within that establishment.
    The thing that should be focussed on is Manny Waks’ ‘legitimate claim’, which you recognise and Rebbetzin Feldman recognises, and which despite that recognition is dumped to the bottom of the importance register in favour of the harm done to the Yeshiva through the public knowledge of the legitimate claim. If the claim had been dealt with satisfactorily and correctly at Yeshiva level, Waks would not have had to work so hard to achieve his satisfaction with it. He is now working on behalf of others, also. Let us not forget that. So many don’t have the courage and energy to speak for themselves without support.

    The Rebbetzin refers to Waks not being ‘frumm’ and you find it sad that departure from Judaism through sometimes vile rejection is aired. What both of you should be concerned with is the ‘why’ behind that rejection of orthodox practice of Judaism. Judaism will remain as strong as its practitioners, so if they are weak in truth and resolve to righteous justice, intolerant and judgemental in regard to anyone not adhering strictly to their own edicts, then they do not do good service to what they purport to believe in and risk its decline. A very important matter, I think.

    That a large number of people, all fully aware of what Tzedek say/claim, still send their children to the Yeshivot does not surprise me at all. Let us hope that these same people would have the gumption to put their children first if, G-d forbid, they suffered as Manny Waks and others did. Although, in saying that, it must be recognised that children are vulnerable to such acts anywhere, in all kinds of schools and institutions. It’s certainly not restricted to Yeshivot. We’re all members of the human race and subject to the same possible inadequacies.

    I wonder what a ‘legitimate Jewish community’ is?

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat

      I find it important and, to be honest, exciting that points are picked in what is being exchanged here. To that I must correct a logical departure I noticed; Judaism cannot be strong as such if those practicing it do not “adhere to its edicts(sic).” Being frumm is a most elevating desire and, one must say, moral necessity, something I – for one – so aspire to. But we are digressing a bit….
      When I said that there are some legitimate claims in the Tzedek gambit of policies I immediately qualified that those claims must not be appropriated by the same Tzedek as their exclusive pursuits and also, more importantly that those claims/causes must not be used to attack, harm important beliefs and practices all of whom are not responsible for the transgressions revealed. Here Waks/Tzedek have crossed the line of necessity and decency big time.

      “Legitimate Jewish communal” entities are those which represent tested policies representing those who , indeed, adhere to known principles on which genuine Jewish existence relies. Here digressions do exist and they must be addressed constructively, hence our hopefully worthwhile exchanges.

  9. Liat Nagar says:

    Dear Otto,
    You ask me to explain the ‘important fact’ that Manny Waks did not take advantage of his high position in the community while President of ACT Jewry to deal with the matters he has since sought acknowledgement of. I had already addressed that in my last posting, viz. my discussion on the fact that commonly, and normally, abuse such as that Manny W. was subjected to takes many years to be voiced – 10, 20, 30 years or more – and this despite what people achieve or do in the interim. Indeed, many take their abuse with them unvoiced to the grave. This is not just my opinion, the evidence for it can be found through the public exposure by many hundreds of people of their ordeals. Some succumb to suicide and destructive means of cushioning their pain and others succeed ‘superficially’ despite it by achieving prominent roles in business or society. Always though the pain and problem of the abuse is there if not voiced, and even if one appears confident and ebullient in society, even if one marries (which you seem to think in itself is proof of some kind of healthy mentality!),in fact the person’s ‘self’ and identity is so violated that within they feel they are a lie to their perceived position in the world and a shadow of what they really are. Why do you have such trouble understanding this concept? Perhaps because you are focussing on the outer image of a person and gossip and opinions of others who are busily fomenting their own roles in community organisations or the Jewish community itself.

    I am not ‘marching with a team’, or a person or organisation. I eschew that kind of allegiance and prefer to stick to my own individual judgement of each single person and each single situation in regard to the facts at hand and knowledge of the complexity of human beings and their history. Institutions can be fine things and more than often originate with the very best of intentions, and I do not seek to bring down or harm the Yeshiva ‘itself’, but rather root out any inappropriate human acts and decisions that disrespect it and cause its deterioration. You have your head in the sand, Otto, if you think that organisations, Yeshiva or otherwise, can continue on their merry way impervious to the fallibility of the people involved with them. And the only way to keep them strong and worth belonging to is expose dishonesty and injustice occurring within them.

    You mention the disgust that you and the Rebbetzin feel. The disgust that I feel is for what has happened to Waks and the cover-up relating to it, oh, and with the personal email the Rebbetzin wrote to Manny Waks, which no amount of glossing over by you can change in tonality and emotional abuse.

    I started off with a two-liner in response to the writings of Rebbetzin Feldman, and can’t do more than quote part of that here as my overall response to the situation, and any others that might surface like it. All of us, perhaps most particularly in this case the Rebbetzin, should focus on spirituality and the humane rather than religious politics and allegiance. That will assist us to transcend all the weary dross endemic in institutions and communities when more tribal, parochial tendencies take over, disallowing more singular truth. You and I probably don’t have much more to say on the matter, and, as another J-Wire contributor, Ben Gershon, says, we shall have to agree to disagree. Although, of course, I would never refuse you discussion. warmest regards,

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat

      When dealing with human behaviour in flexible terms we can adjust available general and specific data to support our arguments, especially when not having access to direct, persona, intimate “consultation”, analysis and, more importnatly expert resolution on the ACTUAL subject. Here Manny Waks wallows in all the public support – of you kind included – which expands on whatever theories convenient to his cause/case.
      My take, if I must clarify it again, is that , once our case’s formal position with the legitimate Jewish community was finalised and no further high position available, he turned against the same community with what I regard as a legitimate claim, HOWEVER , the larger scope was well beyond the reasonable approach, degenerating into one of the ugliest displays of wanton unethical abuses.
      I am not at all surprised that we find voices attuned to the Waks onslaught considering the variety of views found at Jews nowdays in respect to matters – to mine at least – worth a lot more doct introspection. It is sad that departure from Judaism through sometimes vile rejection is aired and this is precisely the “spiritual” base on which Waks is working to a great extent.
      I find Tzedek’s general agenda one posited to cause harm to the Jewish establishment while hinging on worthwhile notions which, IT MUST BE SAID, are not the exclusive province and concerns of Tzedek within our Jewish community, far from it. To this extent, a large number of people, all fully aware of what Tzedek say/claim, send their children to the Yeshivot and that should say something to those anxious to put down the same.

  10. Liat Nagar says:

    Dear Otto,
    People can achieve any manner of things despite trauma. I know, because I have. Holding down senior positions, interesting and esteemed positions and having titles is neither here nor there. Being married proves nothing.
    I have no doubt that, as you say, Manny Waks might not want to face you and others in the Jewish community who feel the way you do in a forum. What would be the point? You will not be moved and will not engage in any perspective that is in any way critical of Jewish religious institutions or those who administer them and you want to fight, not listen. Your own aggressive dislike of both him and his father is to the fore in everything you have to say on the matter. And why would anybody bother to engage in a forum with people whose sole aim would be to shoot you down in flames! Obviously it’s best if you go your separate ways.
    It is a good thing, Otto, that you have not been in a position where you had to choose between supporting your synagogue and/or yeshivah, and supporting one of your own children who has suffered abuse. At least I assume you have not, so please correct me if I am wrong.You need to walk in the shoes of others before you can be so sure of your judgement.
    The letter you refer to that was personal and made public, did not comprise ‘slight observations’ – it was nasty, callous and demeaning in nature, and yet had the cheek to end with sentiments ‘from the heart’. And it does you yourself no good either to speak in the way you do. It’s never useful to denigrate another; it only serves to weaken your case or your cause. You can criticise without denigration. It’s all really offensive stuff, and here I’m talking about the tonality and the name-calling.
    I consider Manny Waks’s actions to be more than courageous. (Did you bother to read his submission to the Enquiry?) It is always hard to speak out about the kind of abuse he has exposed, because, you see, the victim always feels shamed – ashamed – despite it being no fault of his or her own. And, it is more than normal to speak out many years after the event, even at a time when on the outside it looks as if life has been coped with and you have done well, with work, with marriage, et al. That is the norm. At some point something shifts within and causes the volcano to erupt and then there is no stopping it. It is more than cruel to castigate someone for this kind of situation. You are misusing the word ‘narcissism’ in a shocking and inappropriate way. What do you want M Waks to do, sacrifice himself and his own well-being to the mores of the religious community? Well, each person is responsible for saving themselves and choosing what is right and proper to maintain their own integrity, dignity and sense of self. Because nobody else will do it for them. And that is definitely not narcissism. As for ‘knowing’ someone, I am always very wary of all the people with firm opinions because they ‘know’ the person. You can’t be inside somebody else’s head, you only know as much as they allow you to know, and often your knowledge is poisoned or coloured by your own feelings and thoughts to the point where you project yourself onto that knowledge. That’s how complex it is. So, let’s stand back and take a deep breath, develop a bit of humility and realise just how much we don’t and can’t know.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat

      One can tailor a variety of notions, be it of any discipline dealing with “human nature” to suit a certain agenda. As we delve into what may seem psychological profiles ( while not experts nor having access to expert reports re the subject matter ) what I detect with a dash of affectionate amazement is you attempt to debunk ANYTHING that may render the Waks institution of rolling the Yeshiva into some virtuous ethical campaign of cleansing our lives of a monstruous agent among us.
      To wit:
      – the picture of a devastated individual by a past which had wrecked his life ain’t gelling when all aforementioned successes in public/communal life are taken into account. To this, it is essential that all these damning revelations we witness NOW had been completely absent while the same person was enjoying acclaim and recognition by the very institutions now demonised with aplomb while representing all Jewish entities as President of the ACT community. Implicit is the logic that Manny should have taken advantage of the high position in the community while Pres. of ACT Jewry in dealing with these important matters. Please DO explain this important fact. To this effect, a seemingly happy married life, children etc. does make a lot of sense by contrast with the image of a “devastated” psyche. That much of a lay observation should be granted.

      – making public with gusto and bile a private message is NOT kosher vyosher in anyone’s book, observant or not. Exploiting with abandon and vile intent a word or two against a massive text which explains accurately the actions of a person dedicated to demolish the reputation of an entire community is indeed one of the lowest forms of “dialectics”.
      To this, the testimonies of the Waks team at the Royal Inquiry into Child Abuse was by far the most disturbing test of relentless hatred of all matters Judaic coming from within our fold that I have seen in Australia !!!

      A child was molested within the walls of a Jewish institution and that is abhorrent. Two fully grown, mature individuals of the same community want justice and take “laws” of morality into their hands , hands that wreck with indiscriminate blows EVERYTHING we know as sacred….
      This is the “team” you are marching with, this isthe kind of stuff that makes me ( and for good reason the Rebbetzin) filled with disgust.
      Let us not digress from the facts at hand and offer bespoke tailored excuses to what has degenerated into unwanted , disgusting drives of egocentric, yes repulsive narcissistic forays into an avaricious “passion” for public acclaim at any costs by our “subject”.
      And yes, one should have the temerity of coming out and explain his position while the debate is unfolding if he thinks that arguments against him are not sustainable. To mine, this obvious absence is part and parcel of the profile I have drawn so far.

      • ben gershon says:

        Otto

        i am sorry you are disgusted .but just remember so are we with the rebetzine’s behavior and your defense of her actions

        ben

  11. Liat Nagar says:

    Otto,
    Under the circumstances, how you can refer to the Waks’ situation as having anything to do with ‘personal egocentric satisfaction’, I really don’t know. Please refer back to the actual facts of the matter and the terrible effect of those facts on a person’s life – that terrible effect never diminishes until what caused it is dealt with. The process of dealing with it has nothing whatsoever to do with ego, and the only satisfaction gained would come from recognition, acknowledgement and compassion. I am not attributing ‘virtues of perfection’ to any one person. Indeed Manny Waks has been more than honest in relating the destructive decisions he made for himself as a young man growing up, and consequent behaviour, which was not perfect by any means, but which was understandable. This as a result of the abuse he suffered twofold, initially by the sex offender and predator who continued to be employed as a security guard despite the Yeshiva authorities knowing of his background and complaints against him, and secondly by all those adults around him who did nothing to assist or support him by acting on the information they had at the time.
    After reading Pnina Feldman’s email to Waks, sent of all times on the eve of Kol Nidrei, there is little wonder in my mind that he is shocked and offended by it and sought to make it public. The tonality of it is snide, contemptuous and malicious,and the language clearly maligning. The attempt to demean him as a person within himself, his very essence, by referring to him as ‘low life’ and inferring that nobody likes him (the language of the bully) is incredible coming, as it does, from someone you have described in earlier comments as ‘pious’, and coming as it does from such a senior female religious figure in this country. What it shows, Otto, is the Rebbitzen’s nature, her own ‘self’ as a person, and it’s not a pretty sight. There you have the huge demarcation between the human being in reality and the constructed religious authority – that there was no compassion or real care for the subject at hand and its victim, instead an attack in defence of a religious institution exemplifies that. ‘Just because a security guard molested you’, she states,’don’t blame the Yeshiva’. ‘Just because …’, as if it’s of no moment! Well, the fact is the Yeshiva is involved if there was a cover-up that has not been owned up to, and they are involved for continuing to employ somebody who has access to the public with this kind of complaint against them, and so must take their share of the blame. And until they do the ugliness the Rebbitzen refers to will not go away. This is what it’s about. And therein lies the lack of morality, and justice.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat

      Let’s see, our Manny journeyed through “destructive” phases in his life such as:
      -The youngest President of a State Jewish Community (ACT)
      – Self-made President of an organisation (Capital Jewish Forum, I think ) which functioned for years in Canberra AGAINST the grain and policies of the ECAJ, “successfully” engaging a vast range of Canberra foreign diplomats in public fora all in defiance of ECAJ’s policies ( trust me I have it from the highest ECAJ sources !!!)
      – Married with children

      And then, after his ACT Communal Presidency was finished and so his formal Jewish positions ( the ones endorsed by the REAL leadership ) , bingo, Manny caves into “destructive” modes/moods and starts a REAL destructive campaign ( aided by his regained paternal figure ) against the Yeshiva and some other frumm Jewish institutions who just “happened” to have had some moments of broygess with Mr. Waks senior on matters totally unrelated to the Junior’s tragic childhood at the hands of the purveyors of crass immorality, recte the same Yeshiva.What follows publicly are relentless campaigns against all and sundry related to the Yeshiva.
      A personal letter is made public and what follows are vile accusations at the core character of anyone who dares make the slightest observation regarding someone ( again our Manny ) who is known to them MUCH better than those anxious to voice their hugely expansive opinion on matters ethical from Adam/Eve henceforth.
      Dear Liat, GIVE ME A BRAKE !!!
      The Waks camp is exploiting to the last drop other people’s anxiety to have a go at the same institutions for their own personal reasons and Manny allows all , BUT HIMSELF, to do HIS dirty work. He just places the rat on the dining table and exists the room. He is scared drekless to face me in a forum not controlled by him because he knows that I ( and so many others ) would call his bluff the moment he shows his impeccable denture ( fags) on the web.
      Did I say narcisism taken to depth of mud and if not yet, here you have it !!! Otherwise, you write real good.
      Warmly, otto

  12. Liat Nagar says:

    Dear Otto,
    I agree with you that Judaism is essentially concerned with human nature, and respect the fact, indeed, am proud of the fact, that its tenets, originating in ancient times, were such an advance, so early, in the development of more civilised human beings. That is not an issue I contest at all. However, morality, to a large extent, cannot be properly addressed or executed necessarily within the framework of the law, whether its a nation’s laws or the laws of religion. Morality, of course, is a difficult thing to pin down, and it still causes philosophers a lot of hard work in their attempts to do so. I do believe in an inner, innate individual morality, which can be a much bigger thing than man-made laws can encompass. It can never be assumed that those who bear the mantle of leaders of the community, no matter how learned, are practising morality with the truth of a situation in mind, and without the influence of self, community or institution degrading that morality. I am arguing the case in this regard, and this is what is important to me, not a particular Yeshiva, or a particular Rabbi, esteemed or otherwise.
    I do not like the way religious communities, or their spokespeople, close ranks to protect their own immovable beliefs, at the cost of the truth of what is happening around them, and ultimately at the cost of some individual/s who doesn’t fit comfortably within their construction. It can be cruel and extremely destructive. And my advice to these people would be that they should actually ‘think’ instead of behaving like brain-washed sheep. They should be actively aware of man’s inhumanity to man and do something about it.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat

      A bit of tachles related to your last comment.
      “Morality” dependent on truth not intractable but , indeed, most challenging of equations. In our case you seem to attribute all virtues of perfection to one individual ( accompanied by father ) as the beacon of virginal ethics. Far from it. I see agendas which beak most valid values and meant to satisfy selfish, destructive, viscerally vengeful drive while exploiting known respectable norms.
      In principle: all law is predicated on safeguarding morality.
      “Innate morality”one of the basic pursuits of philosophical discipline can be discussed at length. I modestly happen to believe at this stage that innate propensities need to be severely redirected if accepted behaviour is to be achieved, hence THE laws. Man made laws are, in fact in Judaism, reliant on Given Laws, Torah. As such, we benefit from an infinite source of necessarily well analysed texts. I suggest one begins with implicit trust . The rest is just hard work followed by more trust and harder work. Human factor needs active vigilance from within and social structures, the actual community/kehilat/website commentators etc.
      Out of hand exclusions motivated by personal egocentric satisfaction ( see our subject matter/individual ) must be subject of the MOST intractable intolerance, see my persistent encounters with Messrs. Waks and I do not propose to rest.
      What you seem to lean toward is less than critical support through assertions which tend to replace tested principles with ONE individual ( plus paternal assistance ) driven by destructive motivations cum narcissist zeal. To mine, nothing more repulsive.

  13. Liat Nagar says:

    Otto,
    You cannot resolve an issue in-house, no matter how capable the Jewish minds, if it’s an issue that is against the law of the country in which you live. Rabbinical ethical/moral judgement is first and foremost steeped in Jewish laws and therefore more narrow than universal ethical/moral judgement that takes into account the whole scenario of being human. The Australian judicial system stands above any religious laws existing within society and that needs to be recognised and adhered to by all members of Australian society. There’s no competing with it or disregarding it due to perceived conflict of interest.
    It is the natural tendency of people to attempt to cover-up wrong-doing, both individuals and organisations, Jewish or otherwise. Yeshivot (is that correct plural – funny if it is, being a feminine suffix to such a male establishment?), have a lot in reputation and expectations to protect, and the community supporting them likewise; there lies the Achilles heel of the situation, and it has been ever thus for institutions, government bodies, et al, everywhere. It’s a brave person who stands out and speaks the truth regardless of the negative consequences. And yet that’s what is needed. A Rabbi brave enough to do that would set an important moral precedent for other Rabbis and the community that clings to conventional secrecy at all costs; no doubt he would also be approved by G-d.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat

      Judaism is, by far, essentially concerned with human nature. There are no moral tenets in existence better “equipped” to delve/resolve human issues than Judaism and that includes any legal principles/practices. There is no conflict between Judaism and any legal system which would be predicated on safeguards for human dignity.
      The “organic” tendency of human nature is precisely to correct transgressions, hence the variety of punitive laws and practices. Cover up is abhorred by the vigilant majority. One must consider major and even minor historical events where abuse by power, see cover up, evinced drastic anti abuse measures.
      Rabbinical authority is by definition and practice the most scrutinised/commented/criticised/opposed form of communal “institutions” from WITHIN in a constructive, positive way by the very holders of the said beliefs and NOT by any shade of opponents. Collective Jewish communal “administration” is the oldest remaining/continuous form of democracy. All above is based on the necessary belief that Providential truths must prevail while interpretation more than just permitted, indeed encouraged as necessary for perennial validity considering inevitability of evolution.
      Thus, legal systems which are based on necessity for improvement cannot be seen as in principle distinct from Judaism while explicit recognition not necessary/evinced.

  14. Liat Nagar says:

    Dear Otto,
    I am about to be hard on you despite my affection for you. Yes, of course Manny Waks needs help, but not the kind you advocate in such snide tone. He needs the assistance of like-minded people to break through the narrow, almost impenetrable cloister of highly religious institutions and the community who cling to those institutions blindly, caring more for their uninterrupted cohesion than for truth, justice and the protection of people wronged. The children of the future also need this assistance. In this case, of course, we’re talking of a Jewish body of people.
    I always find it difficult to understand the notion of elevating a person for their status and degree of religious observance, almost as if we don’t even have to think or evaluate what they say or do. It has nothing to do with the actual person they are in a wider sense and certainly doesn’t mean for a moment that they are not fallible and prone to destructive tendency or mistakes. Your reference to Rebbetzim Feldman as a ‘truly pious Jew’ infers that due to this her comments are sacrosanct. I don’t believe in saints and I recoil somewhat from the concept of ‘pious’, because all it does is speak to the degree of religious observance and/or fervour someone might practise – a very personal quality that has nothing whatsoever to do with other thoughts and actions that might prevail. In fact, piousness + rigidity and inflexibility of thought can, and often do, equal lack of humanity, because ultimately the man-made rules associated with man’s interpretation of G-d’s word become a fixed point of no compromise, negotiation or care for the human in all his/her complexity, as we try to live on this earth.
    I read Rebbetzim Feldman’s comments and agree with Manny Waks’ perception of them. In her position she is not going to rock the boat, and how the boat needs rocking!! She could use her role and the influence that can bring to do a lot of good, even though it would be more than difficult for her, instead she plays politics with the rest of them. This is not to say that there are not many good people of fine intent and generous heart within orthodox religious communities – there are. However, ultiimately the extremity of their adherence to the rules made by men and the threat of exclusion if they don’t keep to form keeps intact a system where abuse of children, or even of those who speak out as adults, can continue to thrive. Other ‘communal entities’ don’t come into it – comparisons are odious and usually beside the point – whether Jew, Catholic or secular, human beings who make up communal entities have among them those who are prone to similar destructive tendencies. That’s why the likes of Manny Waks must speak out.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat, I am writing while listening to Gremin’s aria sung by a fantastic Russian bass, so hardly a better ambiance to respond to your warm and generous interlude.
      For reasons of personal betterment, I am indebted to what Judaism infuses into my soul and constantly find myself anxious to stand guard to its values.
      Down to more earthy matters, what we have been witnessing from the Wax consortium are ceaseless assaults upon an entire spiritual edifice. This is nothing short of a wanton expansion of visceral personal agendas into vicious vengeance campaigns against entire institutions and entire complexity of ethical beliefs and practices upon which a respectable, albeit highly tested people have struggled to survive.
      Theirs, Waks’, is a determined, dogged way of interceding with the function of whole groups of decent people who had the well inspired “audacity” to attempt into correcting some unwanted traits at the “objectors” mentioned and hereby much too enthusiastically defended by your good self.
      From the wealth of information offered by Jwire it is clear to me that the good Rebetzin is only standing by her ( and ours, in fact ) beliefs which are implicitly and quite explicitly perfectly clear in abhorrence of what the Waks enterprise wish to present as their own strict moral domain.
      There is no evidence at all that the Yeshiva the Waks duo has been attacking with such gusto and indecency is promoting child abuse of any kind. The “protection” seen by some is, in fact, the manner in which an administration clearly disgusted with unethical acts discovered in its midst is trying to deal with while faced with the expected traditional unfair expansion of accusations and vicious retributions against the massive majority of the whole community by those dedicated to harm Jews out of criminal prejudice. Well, right here and in so many other places, the Waks campaigns have joined those legions of irresponsible criticism and hate while conducting what is perceived by some as a necessary moral cleansing exercise. Exploiting moral standards for personal gratification is not what we should condone. I chose to look more attentively at the peripheral agendas conducted by the Waks and find them repulsive.
      Unable to deal with rejection by a community which found reasons to dispense with their presence, the Waks retort has been using all known cabals of hatred to discredit all and sundry in their path of indecent assaults.
      Child abuse of any kind has been condemned and dealt with just resolve by Judaism at all times. That makes Judaic institutions a far better place than anything else comparable in profile. This reality is being attempted at by Manny, while admitting that he had himself departed from the fold.
      I have time for Manny only in as far as deriding his exploits. In a previous running-in with him he was kvetching publicly that he could not bring himself to go to shul on some yom-tev while sending his kids. I replied by saying that these were double standards and, as he was fishing for public sympathy,as he was causing his children troubled confusions. He cut me out at once in an offensive – yet without right of reply – manner.
      Then he changed the story telling all how he did, eventually, go to shul and “…survived it all …”, another sympathy sweep.
      Do I have any respect for these kind of underhanded manipulations…..

      Short and curly, we, the larger Jewish community are quite capable to recognise and deal with transgressions found in our midst. We have the minds to do it WITHOUT attempting at the entire communal spiritual substance and human edifice. I, for one, would have complete confidence in people just like you, if completely outside the tutelage of anyone with a massive personal axe to grind.
      I dislike profoundly the manner in which Manny Waks and his father have conducted themselves in this seemingly endless saaga of gripe and publicity greed.

      • ben gershon says:

        Otto

        while the yeshivah did not promote the crime .when it was drawn to their attention .they covered it up .THAT IS A CRIME .and they and their so called leaders still don’t get it

        ben

        • Otto Waldmann says:

          Ben, sorry , but the Yeshiva did NOT cover up anything. A cover up would have meant a perpetuation of the crime under the Yeshiva’s watch and that , you should know, did NOT take place. Resolving an issue in-house does not mean condoning the transgression.
          I trust both Rabbinical ethical/moral judgement and also the Australian – non Jewish – judicial system as distinct entities while they are not competing or contradictory .

          • ben gershon says:

            Otto

            we will have to agree to disagree .the late rabbi Groner took no action when it was put in front of him

            ben

            • Otto Waldmann says:

              Ben, we can agree, however, that the late Rabbi’s reaction is mostly “documented” from the side of the argument which is on the intent to demonise the ENTIRE institution of Judaism on account of alleged inaction by a single individual. This is the most repugnant aspect of the wider Waks agenda.Just need to remind that the same Waks “local hero” needed to apologise for the same to the target of their campaigns.

              • ben gershon says:

                Otto

                this is not pilpul both the rabbi and the rabitzen .are so called leaders of chabbud and no one has pulled them into line publicly

                it will take more then a weak apologetic statement

                ben

                Ps the late great rabbi that was the rabitzen’s father would have by now sorted it.his memory is still bright for some of us .there was a MANTCH

                • Otto Waldmann says:

                  Ben

                  intentional or not, confusing what you say/imply.
                  Rebetzin would be expected to display respect for parent in spite of public arena awash with allegations by the Waks re Yeshiva/Rabbi in question and sundry. Opinions cannot be forced, well informed/closely associated people to Chabad/Yeshiva/Rabbi/Rebetzin not less intelligent than you/myself. As both institutions still solid one can conclude that said institutions/respective leaders morally reliable.

                  • ben gershon says:

                    morally reliable? respective leaders ?

                    should they choose to retire from the scene there might be a chance to rebuild the trust in the morality

                    ben

                    • Otto Waldmann says:

                      Ben
                      I suspect you meant “respected” leaders.
                      Otherwise your message has been answered a few times by me in all I said above.

  15. ben gershon says:

    it is quite obvious chabbad needs a rabbinical inquiry and a reprogramming in its ethnics. if the rebetzin has not bin retired and shelved form puplic statements

    ben

  16. Otto Waldmann says:

    Publicity avaricious Manny has done it again. A comment made by a truly pious Jew is taken to bits by Manny, waxing out of the park a simple comment, inflated with totally unproven allegations about an entire community, highly offensive by insinuations completely without any evidence known by anyone – is the Jewish community “guilty” of allowing child sexual molestation to an extent LARGER than other communal entities, indeed !!!!! – blasting hyperbolas of the most absurd kind on account of a half-syllable in one’s private correspondence, all that just to carve another irrelevant scratch in the public domain.
    This bloke needs help……

  17. Liat Nagar says:

    If Rebbetzim Feldman is the most senior Chabad Rebbetzim in Australia, it’s a great pity that she doesn’t focus more on spirituality and the humane, rather than religious politics and allegiance.

  18. joe says:

    Sadly EVERY THING that the Rebbetzen originally said was 100% true.
    Unfortunately the other rabbis are shoving each other out of the way to be ‘politically correct’.

  19. ben gershon says:

    it will long be remembered that the rebetzin has said nothing on the injustice served on Manni’s father

    chabbad just covers up instead of putting the cleaners thru

    ben

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