Sunday, February 15, 2015

Australia's most senior rabbi sent text message calling abuse victims' father a 'lunatic', royal commission hears

ABC Australia    Australia's most senior rabbi sent a text message calling a father whose children were molested at Melbourne's Yeshivah College a "lunatic" who neglected his children, the royal commission into child sexual abuse has heard.

Rabbi Meir Kluwgant admitted sending the message about Zephaniah Waks to the editor of the Australian Jewish News, Zeddy Lawrence, on February 3.

The Waks's lawyer Melinda Richards SC put it to the rabbi that he sent an SMS to Mr Lawrence which read: "Zephaniah is killing us, Zephaniah is attacking Chabad, he is a lunatic on the fringe, guilty of neglect of his own children, where was he when all this was happening?". [...]

Manny Waks posted a message on social media in which he called for Rabbi Kluwgant to resign or be sacked immediately "from every leadership position he currently holds".

"We have just heard the most senior rabbi of Australasia, Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant ... publicly admit to sending a shocking, vile message to the editor of the Australian Jewish News, viciously attacking my father (during his testimony at the RC, no less) and blaming him for the sexual abuse of his three children (myself included)," he wrote.

"Rabbi Kluwgant has been one of the leading forces behind the horrific intimidation campaign against me and my family.

"Until today it was difficult to prove. It has finally been exposed publicly."


  1. How could he most senior rabbi, when he went to school in the 80s? Is probably in his middle forties.
    Was pretty dumb for sending the message, but you have to wonder if he should resign for sending an insensitive text

  2. Kluwgant's message was an emotional and highly inappropriate, stupid text, especially to the editor of the AJN. He should of left the communication of his frustration to a trusted friend - which ironically, the Chabad school refused to be for the Waks boys.

    However, his point is worth contemplating. Did the dad fail his kids in - 1) their vulnerability, 2) his relationship with them to know what was happening, and his 3) protection of them.
    Was the dad remiss in any of these three areas.

  3. This text sounds like it's straight up loshon hora... issur de'oraysa. Such a simple halacha, it astounds me to see Rabbi's speaking this way about other people. Where is the yiras Hashem?

  4. The text is stupid and insensitive, however not lashon hara. It's simply his opinion on something which is very much in the public.
    Btw, I remember sometime last year, there was a post on this blog from the Facebook of one of mannys brothers, accusing the father of the very things that klewgant is saying. So while it doesn't excuse him, the story here is obviously much more complicated than what we see.


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