…and Manny Waks responds

December 18, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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Following the publication of the letter to the ECAJ’s letter to the Victorian Government Inquiry into Handling of Child Abuse, Manny Waks, himself an alleged victim of sexual abuse who made a submission to the Inquiry, responds…

Manny Waks writes:


“I welcome the ECAJ clarification to the Inquiry. I have never accused the ECAJ of doing nothing to address this ongoing crisis. Rather, my criticisms have focused primarily on two central issues.

Firstly, it is about resource allocation – despite the ECAJ’s futile attempt to impress upon the Committee that it has undertaken ongoing and serious actions to address this ongoing scandal, clearly they have failed. Disseminating a number of media releases, holding several meetings and making one submission – which is essentially the extent of their work since this scandal broke, as outlined in their many dot points in their submission – is simply not good enough.

Secondly, it is also about the ECAJ’s unequivocal defence of the Jewish institutions involved in the abuse allegations and the subsequent alleged cover-ups. The ECAJ has repeatedly gone on the public record to say that all the institutions are being fully cooperative – in some cases the ECAJ even extolled the virtues of at least one of the organisations. This is despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary – by the Magistrate, police, victims, their families and supporters. This is also based on the views of a current senior member of the ECAJ who informed me directly over the past year of Yeshivah’s lack of willingness to work with the Victorian roof body (the Jewish Community Council of Victoria) on any level (for some reason this was not mentioned in the ECAJ’s submission). The ECAJ’s approach, therefore, is an affront to many within our community, especially to the many victims.

Contrary to the ECAJ’s claims, no one is suggesting that our community is a ‘unitary organisation’ and there are no ‘ill-conceived attempts to attribute collective guilt to the whole Jewish community’. It is now abundantly clear that this scandal involves multiple victims, from a range of organisations throughout Australia. Clearly this is a Jewish community issue. While language is important, this is essentially about semantics. I and many others view this as a Jewish community issue. This in no way implicates each and every member of the Jewish community or its many institutions.

The only reason the ECAJ has been criticised by many for its ongoing misguided attitude and actions is because it claims to speak and act on behalf of our community. So it is disingenuous of the ECAJ to attack others for referring to the Jewish community as a single entity when they in fact do the exact same thing. The ECAJ cannot be selective about when it chooses to position the Jewish community as a single entity.

Despite the ongoing criticism and mistrust that exists between us, recently I took the step of reaching out to the ECAJ for the benefit of our community.

Waks wrote to ECAJ president Dr Danny Lamm:

“I wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to you and the ECAJ to work together to address the issue of child sexual abuse within our community.

Despite the mistakes that were made, I believe that it would be of great benefit to our community and more constructive for us to work together on this pressing issue.

As you would be aware, we are currently in the process of establishing Tzedek, an advocacy group for victims of child sexual abuse within the Jewish community. So having a working relationship between us and our respective organisations would be of mutual benefit. This does not necessarily mean that we must agree on everything but it will at least mean that we can liaise, consult, refer etc. when necessary. To be clear, I am not proposing a formal relationship but one that would ensure we have an open channel of communication for the benefit of the Jewish community.

Please advise if this is of interest to you and the ECAJ.”


3 Responses to “…and Manny Waks responds”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    … and gosh, isn’t Manny’s phrase so badly conceived !!!!

  2. Otto Waldmann says:

    Shirlee is absolutely right !!
    The Waks family is using this platform in challenging the leadership of the Australian Jewry without any gains to the Jewish community.

  3. Shirlee. says:


    I know you have been violated and you have my sympathy on that score and you have cause to be angry

    However I don’t see this to be the responsibility of the entire Community.

    These dreadful offences occurred within individual organisations, perpetrated by individuals without the knowledge of those organisations.

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