Rabbi Friedman apologises

February 1, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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Rabbi Manis Friedman who likened sexual abuse with diarrhea has apologised for his comments.

In a statement sent to J-Wire, Rabbi Friedman, based in Minnesota, said:

Rabbi Manis Friedman

Rabbi Manis Friedman

“I want to apologize for my completely inappropriate use of language when discussing sexual abuse. I have always believed in the importance of empowering victims of all kinds to move forward in building their lives. In my zeal to reinforce that belief, I came across as being dismissive of one of the worst crimes imaginable.

For that I am deeply sorry.

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 they live. 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.

From now on, I will make sure to make those points absolutely clear. This is about more than regret. The subject can’t be neglected.

I hope over time to earn the forgiveness of those who were hurt by my words.”

Manny Waks, the Melbourne based founder of sexual abuse advocacy organisation Tzedek has also made a statement following the apology. Waks had initiated proceedings to bring Rabbi Friedman to a Din Torah.

“On behalf of Tzedek I welcome the apology issued by Rabbi Manis Friedman as a positive first-step in addressing his ignorant and deeply offensive remarks. It is regrettable that Rabbi Friedman waited until now to issue this apology – but it is nonetheless a welcome development.

It is important to emphasise that no one is infallible, and that we should therefore accept an apology that is sincere. In this case, due to the immense damage caused, it may take some time for many to evaluate Rabbi Friedman’s sincerity. This is completely understandable and should be respected. This is especially the case for the victims and survivors of child sexual abuse themselves.

In light of Rabbi Friedman’s apology, Tzedek will in due course consider its position regarding its pursuit of legal action through the Beth Din.

I have been in contact with a number of Rabbi Friedman’s close associates and we hope to progress this matter further.

It is my sincere hope that this incident will be turned from a negative to a positive, and greater emphasis will now be placed on the issue of child sexual abuse within the Jewish community, especially within the ultra-Orthodox community. There is no doubt that child sexual abuse is an issue within the broader community, but as we have seen, there are specific issues and challenges in addressing this scourge within our own community, and even more so within the ultra-Orthodox community.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who expressed their support so far, and especially to those who took a public position critical of Rabbi Friedman’s offensive comments. As we have seen, it is essential for as many people as possible to speak out in such circumstances. It is important to highlight the unequivocal statements issued by three leading Australian Orthodox rabbis, Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant and Rabbi Yoram Ulman.”


17 Responses to “Rabbi Friedman apologises”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    Lynne – forget “love”

    I perused your piece and found the following:

    You start by addressing me and my comments and, although you say that you don’t want to make any further comments to my posting, you draw my attention to the well known complaints within the Catholic Church. An abrupt change of emphasis wishing, I suppose, to draw analogies to the Jewish problem – the very one I discussed specifically and one that concerns the entire tenure of the current story. So, the sequence of logic is already broken through a farcical shift.
    Then, you use the expression “OUR catholic children ” – where did that come from !!!???
    Finally, based on the Catholic abissmal record, suddenly Manny Waks is a hero, because you ellect to imply another analogy, one that brings a Catholic Church repleat with abuses alongside what Manny Waks purports to represent, the Jewish community.
    I have diluted your message and concluded that there is nothing thick about it, no substance, no holding matter at all, but a highly incongruous, void argument, erratic, while aiming at the aura of some non-descript universalist hogg-wash.
    By the very virtue of his persistance, manny Waks is, actually attempting to bring the Jewish community on parr with the infamous hstory of abuses revealed within the Catholic Church. He wants all the attention and support for a critical look at teh Jewish community in its entirety from the UNREALISTIC position of a critical situation within the Jewish community re child abuses. You subscribe to this absurdity, to this higly irresponsible stance.

    • Lynne Newington says:

      What you weren’t able to connect Otto, in comparison with YOUR Jewish community, was the fact WE as Catholics have lawyers backing taking the abuse within OUR Catholic community to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, for crimes, cover-up’s lack of transparancy, and the way abuse has been handled within OUR Catholic community.
      Now compare that with Yours, whether it be one or a hundred, [not like us with thousands}.
      And for me personally, [which may not have been of interest to others, but relevant], it was sickening for me, [an opinion I expressed], to see all those legal entities, openly supporting a system, whether spiritiually, socially or legally, with all their pomp and ceremony that has destroyed the lives of so many families.
      The same judges /silks, that we look to met out justices for those able to even reach the courts, for lack of funds, and the bishops who should be held accountable, many being paid by the church to indirectly, defend those who committed the attrocities..
      Angela Sdrinis Stringer Clarke Lawyers
      Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.Red Mass Tuesday January 29 2013

      • Otto Waldmann says:


        now I get it…………

        I wrongly assumed that you were expressing views from a Jewish perspective.

        I must not be seen to happily take advantage of your postings to embark on a critical stance against the Church. This would not be the very purpose of the current story as far as my desired input at present.
        It is quite relevant, however, to emphasise once again that Manny Waks’ efforts intend to ellicit the farcical notion that there are inherent features within the ultra Orthodox Jewish observance which would be conducive to immoral behaviour. I find it highly disturbing that such a false, pernicious attitude would attract a “logical” analogy with the well known abuses of this kind within the Church. To this extent, Manny Waks is hardly a “hero” !!!!!

        • Lynne Newington says:

          I have read all the Jewish Parliamentary submissions, and I commend the Jewish community, in fact Ialways have.
          That being said, it took tremendous courage for Manny [and all others] to come forward.
          A boy’s manhood had been affected here, thank God he has dealt with it.
          Don’t hold him to ransom and that’s my last word.

  2. Leon says:

    Otto you are abysmal.Blame the victim that’s what that fool Freidman has done and your not much better.The problem is that not all of our Rabbi’s are worldly. If he had of said that to my Congregation he would have been thrown out.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Leon, mate, you did not read my messages carefully. Your response reveals abysmal English. Tell you what, I can read , understand about eight languages. I suggest you post your thoughts in you mother tongue, whatever is may be and maybe we could get somewhere…………ok !!!

  3. Otto Waldmann says:

    Manny Waks, in his excessive statement, has committed a serious avera by accentuating, once again, the farcical notion that ultra orthodox Jews present a prevalent disposition to the acceptance of child molestation.
    I find his statement irresponsible and suggest he exercises caution and sensible expression when addresses these issuues which, I believe, he has limited understanding of. What seems limitless is his anxiety to be seen and heard publicly , all at the expense of the entire Jewish community.

    • Lynne Newington says:

      You have the bull by the tail Otto I’m sorry.
      Transparency is the operative word.

      • Otto Waldmann says:

        You have the tail at the head of the issue, Lynne, I’m sorry.

        One thing is to be transparent and the whole storry is wellknown NOT thanks to Manny Waks, so transparency is ok on that score. What I am pointing out is simply the extent to which Manny Waks extends ONE single case of transgression to the entire ultra orthodox Jews. This is beyond the offensive. I find Manny Waks not at all persuasive, both in style and, more importantly, content. The way he took advantage of visual attention on TV the other day to expand the issue of child molestation emerging from the stupid statement of one singular Rabbi somewhere in New York, reeks of attention seeking, selfish agenda, as I said, at the expense of the larger Jewish community.
        Simply put, WE DO NOT HAVE A CHILD ABUSE COMMUNAL/RELIGIOUS/CULTURAL problem as Jews. Never had such a “tradition”, unlike OTHER religious/ethic well known groups.
        As we speak, somewhere in Afganistan tousand of children ar used as “dancing boys”, between the ages of five and eighteen, by all males with bit of money and clout. I saw a disgusting doco of current army generals having their pleasures in the back of their Jeeps with boys of their choice, provided by the local “master”. This is an endemc and accepted practice which DEFINES that particular society. Similar stuff goes on throughout the poor uncivilised world.
        Our is a highly civilised fold, one that has followed for millenia ethics that EXCLUDE with rigid discipline such practices.
        Rabbi Friedman showed poor judgement, in my view, and although only 67, he reached a badly deteriorated state of mind. He does not represent at all the very section of the ultra orthodoxy we know and respect. I am sure that The Rebbe himself would have been shocked by what he said !!!!

        • Phillip says:

          What the Australian community, and maybe the whole secular first world is struggling with it the prevalence of child molestation by people in whom they expected to trust; being shocked and appalled by it.
          Teachers, sports coaches, Scout leaders, youth workers and particularly religious leaders are unarguably represented amongst the offenders.
          Only bigots will say that it is the religious cultures which are fostering this perverted and sinful behaviour and only bigots deny that this behaviour is represented in their belief community.
          The uproar surrounding what was said by Rabbi Friedman is not inappropriate or unbalanced. For so long the majority of disclosing victims have been disbelieved or counter-attacked and their sufferings compounded.
          Wisdom attests that the predisposed predators infiltrate the ranks of the trusted and maximise their opportunities to procure victims.
          Your sort of Jew does have this unwanted problem like everyone else and your implication that others foster, encourage or promote child sexual abuse is as offensive as the topic in question, Otto, unless you have specific knowledge in evidence about a group you actually have in mind and can name.
          Lynne Newington is on the right track.

          • gabrielle says:

            You spot on Phillip. I couldn’t have put it better. We have our rotten apples and the sooner we recognize it the better.

          • Otto Waldmann says:

            Phillip, mate ( another one !) you are all over the shop and, in fact, do not address my points at all, although somewhere you adress me. I am trying honestly and incredibly hard to figure out what kind of “specific knowledge in evidence (sic) about a group…” I have in mind. What I had in mind is very clearly presented in my postings.
            Anyway, look, Lynne who disagrees with me without spelling out clear reasons, a kinda reflex, I reckon, likesya and that should make your day. I know it made mine………..

            ( tune in 4 the next episode to find out out what particularly Otto liked about Lynne !! )

        • Lynne Newington says:

          Otto, without going any further into the body of your response, let me tell you this.
          The Melbourne Archdiocese has just had what they call “The Red Mass, the beginning of the “Legal Year” which I believe the Jewish community hold one to.
          To see all those “Silks”, knowing they too submit, [sometimes on their knees for a blessing or to be absolved for their sins], to the hierarchical authority, and publicly support a system that has covered up heinous crimes against our chatholic children for decades, decades mind you, where transparency has been insidiously lacking.
          Hat’s off to Manny Waks and all people of goodwill, parents aunties uncles etc, and all those who have gone before you waiting for someone to speak up on behalf of their future generations.

          • Otto Waldmann says:

            Lynne, love, what does the Melb. archidiocese, silks and “our” (????) Catholic children ( mine is strictly kosher, Baruch Hashem !!) have to do with my points !!!??? Pls DO elaborate !!

          • Lynne Newington says:

            Lynne to you thanks Otto.
            And if you’re to thick to understand what I was saying bad luck.

    • Shirlee says:

      I’m with you on this Otto. You had the guts to say what I didn’t

  4. Lynne Newington says:

    What message has the collective Jewish community sent?
    1. That you would bring even a rabbi publicly to account without fear or favour.
    2. And Manny Waks had the confidence and support in bringing the rabbi to bibical judgement.
    Unheard of else where from recollection.

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