Tzedek: New organisation – old problem

December 3, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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The process to establish an advocacy group for victims of child sexual abuse within the Jewish community has been launched.

Manny Waks

Manny Waks, an alleged victim of child sexual abuse within Melbourne’s Yeshivah Centre and communal leader, has taken steps to establish this group. Mr Waks has the complete support of numerous other alleged child sexual abuse victims within the community to establish the group, which will be called Tzedek (Hebrew for ‘Justice’).

A number of individuals have already agreed to join the Board of Directors and limited funding has already been pledged.

Mr Waks stated:“The child sexual abuse scandal currently afflicting our community, which was exposed in mid-2011, seems to be going from bad to worse. We need an organisation to publicly promote the interests of the victims themselves – at this stage no existing organisation is doing this.

We need a one-stop shop for victims to provide them with a voice, support and assistance. Tzedek will now take on this essential role. It will work with victims to ensure that their needs are met. Where necessary it will refer them to the appropriate services.

Tzedek will also liaise with the relevant agencies. Importantly, it will work closely with the current Victorian Government Inquiry and the Federal Government’s Royal Commission dealing with the issue of child sexual abuse.

I implore the community to support this essential initiative to ensure justice for past wrongs and the safety of our children into the future. I encourage those who have the means to contribute funds, those with time and expertise to volunteer, and for all victims to make contact so that their voices will be heard. All approaches will be treated in strict confidence.”

Prominent Jewish Australian Josh Bornstein, a Principal with Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, who has agreed to join the inaugural Board, commented: “Together with seven other concerned citizens, I established an online petition calling upon the Federal Government to establish a royal commission into this important issue. Our petition garnered over 18,000 signatures in 24 hours. Like a reported 95% of the community, I welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to establish the royal commission.

Through this activity I met Manny Waks who has impressed me with his courage and commitment in publicly speaking out about what many of us feel uncomfortable about within the Jewish community in Australia.

The issue of institutional child abuse is an issue for the entire community, including the Jewish community. The issue transcends ethnic, religious or political affiliation.

I sincerely hope that Manny’s efforts to give victims of child abuse within the Jewish community a public voice are embraced and supported as part of a process of trying to heal old wounds and ensuring that our systems for protecting children are improved and made as robust as possible.”

For further information or to provide support, please contact Tzedek at

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