Royal Commission Day Two – Zephania Waks

February 3, 2015 by J-Wire
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Zephania Waks is the father of Manny Waks who appeared at the Commission yesterday. Zephania Waks has three sons who were abused at Melbourne’s Yeshivah College.

He reiterated the problem of the spiritual leaders a the Yeshivah refusing his request to make an announcement that he was not a mosser…a person who gives information to bodies outside the Yeshivah community, including the police.

Reference was made to former teacher David Kramer who has been jailed both in the United States and Australia for offences committed against boys under his care. Following Kramer’s admission to having touched boys he was sent to Israel and the Commission heard that the Yeshivah had paid his airfare.

The Commission also heard that Kramer’s misdemeanours were not reported to an Israeli institution considering employing him.

More following…we are currently monitoring the statement of the wife of one of the victims….


12 Responses to “Royal Commission Day Two – Zephania Waks”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    Dear Otto,
    Forget the documentary in relation to being in the know (I’ve seen it myself by the way). I’m sure you must realise how films are made, the editing necessary, the focus decided upon, the way it turns out often being quite different to what participants want or intend. It’s for an audience, Otto. The Waks family might have been happy to use it for the attention they wanted in regard to the scenario we’ve been discussing forever and a day, do if so I guess they’ll be happy enough with it. But don’t try to draw anything more definitive from it than that.

    It doesn’t matter a hoot if Z. and M. Waks were not always on good terms – that’s normal enough in the scheme of things with fathers and sons. As to family member dislocation, alienation, whatever, that’s also par for the course, and what a dynamic to keep on an even keel with seventeen children! I’m sure none of us would look too grand if all our family goings on were exposed. Not a good thing to try to use against him. Most unkind. And who really knows, anyway? The gossip-mongers certainly don’t.

    Whatever the family history and whatever the true make-up of Z. Waks as a man might be, which is something neither you or I are privy to, the fact is what he has done in supporting his son in this sordid affair is morally sound and he gets an A+ for it. Even if it turns out to be the only good thing he’s done in his life.

    Thank you for your suggestion of meetings in Melbourne, however I’ve been living in Adelaide for a year and am hoping to move out of S.A. as soon as I can to an as yet undetermined destination.

  2. Liat Nagar says:

    Oh dear, Otto, we really do need to stick to the specific issue at hand here, which is the case presented to the Royal Commission by Manny Waks, supported by his father.

    Second-hand reportage is tantamount to gossip (a NO NO in Jewish ethics). ‘Most of Mr. Waks’ seventeen children have APPARENTLY … left him to his own devices’. Well, there you go, ‘apparently’ … which denotes ‘it appears that’. If at all unsure, this opinion or report should never have been proferred, however perhaps those involved have an axe to grind. As to the state of relations between Z. Waks and his family members, who can see behind the closed doors of a family home and who can know in full context, or understand, the familial relationships of others? Families themselves often have difficulty enough working it out. Relationships can be complex enough with parents and two or three children, let alone seventeen. (Think of having to navigate the responsibility and care of seventeen children, and as a woman having to even bear seventeen children! Ye who do not have seventeen children, pray do not make judgements on their harmonious family relations or otherwise.)

    I’d be careful of measuring relevance of a person by how many of your family see you off at the airport! A man’s worth should be better contemplated than that. Who knows, some in his family might be choosing religion and community cohesion over the more difficult reality of supporting a family member in a taboo subject/situation. Just a thought. I’m happy to say I don’t know.

    I don’t have any heroes, Otto. No heroes anywhere. Hero status is not something we humans can acquire even at our best.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat

      sorry, but right here you very wrong, me very right. The imputation of lashon hora is but a nice try. Me basing me arguments on clear an immediate evidence provided in that documentary, which showed a bit a lot more than the “totally irrelevant” airport scene. The reality that the Wakses were in some family borscht and most of their tribal organisation was kinda dispersed and also the other detail that father-son Manny tzures was a fact, albeit now repaired due to common target i.e. Yeshiva, shul, entire orthodox kehila which saw it necessary to invite calm and unasserting Mr. Z. to kiss the mezuza on the way out, well all this stuff ( ideal for an action packed novel, don’t think it !!! )is unfolded in that doco.
      I just love it the way all my arguments are dismissed, including the airport “scene”, not because it is inconvenient in the realistic scheme of things, but because better suited “reasons” must have been at work and they fit perfectly anything against my perceptions, based on the flexibility of the principle “what you see is only what YOU see”, yet another philosophical concept I first found at me mate Burah Spinoza, if we must take a more philosophical turn. Still, I reckon I will stick to what WE all saw and heard said by the Waks parents in that doco…i.e the Wakses were in total disarray, but hey, that’s only me….
      It just occurred to me that, since yourse guys are both Melbournians, it would be interesting to see if you could have a rational discussion mano a mano with the excessively fertile tribal chief ( mitout a tribe to speak of ). I’d love to join in but, alas, me still in Europe where classical music seems a better pursuit that classical gratuitous rebuffs,not that I would not enjoy them. So, keep bringin’ them on…..

  3. Liat Nagar says:

    Zephania Waks and his family have already had to face the backlash of the religious community to which they had belonged. They’ve been ostracised and alienated to the extent that they have removed themselves from it, not an easy decision to make. It is at the very least good for Z. Waks to have the chance to defend himself and his family more publicly by way of this Royal Commission, as in doing so those who would not listen before, certainly will now. If they had listened and acted appropriately before it would not have come to this.

    If not heroic, Zephania Waks’ support for his children shows the choice of a father’s moral obligation to his son (Manny Waks) as against the perceived religious obligation of those around him. He can be at ease with himself on that score.

    For those who continue to criticise Zephania Waks and bring out the big guns in support of those who failed him, or trivialise it by saying it was minor in the scheme of things due to not representing a larger percentage of such occurrences, while blindly believing that Orthodox Judaism itself depends on this kind of support, I say to you: IMAGINE. Imagine if it were your son who was sexually abused in these circumstances. Put yourself into the skin of the other, and imagine. Close your eyes, and don’t allow for one moment a philosophical discourse to randomly course through your brain, or search for a Jewish law to tell you what to do – imagine if it was really you. You have a son, you find out he has been sexually abused at a yeshiva, in a synagogue. How do you feel? What will you do? Really, it’s as simple and hard as that.

    AND NO, THIS IS NOT AN ATTACK ON THE WHOLE OF ORTHODOX JUDAISM AND RABBIS. It’s a plea for sanity in regard to the protection of children, who only have their parents to rely on for protection. If that fails them, they have nothing.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Sorry Liat, but certain persistent reports inform us that most of Mr. Waks’ SEVENTEEN CHILDREN have apparently …… left him to his own devices. In addition, same sources also tell us of some not very paternal/fillial harmonious developments with precisely the “hero” on our/your story.
      Also some of Waks daddy’s public comments, including previous Royal Commission, elicit someone with an incredibly broad axe to grind with his former shul, Yeshiva and, as I mentioned, quite a few of his massive brood. I can remember a scene from a documentary on the Waks family in which Mr. and Mrs. Waks are seen at Melb. Int’l airport leaving for o/seas. Guess how many of that incredibly large, supportive mishpuha were seeing them off ! Let me tellya: gurnischt. THAT’S HOW relevant the bloke is. But who am I to interfere with fiction !!!!

  4. Helen Dawson says:

    The Australian Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse is ongoing.
    I can say from our experience in our family that the staff are exceptionally supportive, privacy and survivors concerns and requests are dealth with respectfully and carefully, and the help available to survivors is genuine and effective.
    This is an opportunity to speak up for justice, access redress and compensation, counselling and support services, wherever you may be.
    Survivors of child sex abuse and their families are very welcome to contact the Royal Commission at any stage.
    Free call in Australia 1800 099 340
    or from overseas 61 2 8815 2319

  5. Helen Dawson says:

    I attended the Australian Royal Commission hearings in Melbourne today.
    It was a wonderful opportunity for Mr Waks to defend his family.
    Good on him for putting his children’s health and safety first, and other people’s opinions second.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Very interesting, Ms Dawson. Tell us more about the real, imminent danger Mr.Waks’ family is facing and the redutable efforts a heroic father is displaying to defend his children under siege from you know who.

  6. Otto Waldmann says:

    Indeed, “intestinal”. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

  7. Raymond Phillips says:

    I admire Manny Waks’ intestinal fortitude for firstly coming out and exposing the wrong doers. Secondly standing in court and making these people accountable for their actions. Hopefully the court will do justice for all the victims. Remember these children had their innocence taken away from them by people in trusted positions. As children its the time for learning both religious instruction and worldly knowledge.

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