Saturday, February 21, 2015

Manny Waks: I'm the 'troublemaker' who blew the whistle on Jewish abuse scandal

The Guardian    When he was 18 years old, Manny Waks turned his back on life within the Judaism known as Chabad. But the effects on his life remain profound.
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Now 38, Waks is still unable to read a novel, so dictated was his childhood by religious texts. Until the age of about 29, he believed rubbing his eyes with his fingers after waking up in the morning would cause him to go blind unless he carried out a religious washing ceremony first.

But the most damage has been caused by the repeated sexual abuse he suffered within the umbrella organisation for the movement in Australia, known as Yeshivah. 

Waks grew up across the street from Melbourne’s Yeshivah Centre, where all of his schooling and extracurricular activities took place. He and his family were completely immersed within the Yeshivah community, and anything beyond its radius was foreign to them.

For the past fortnight, that secretive world has been comprehensively picked apart at the royal commission into institutional responses into child sexual abuse.[...]

The hearings represent the first time the Sydney and Melbourne Yeshivah centres, headquarters to the Orthodox Chabad sect of Judaism, have been scrutinised in public, and Waks’ evidence has played a central part in that process.[...]

It does not matter that peak Jewish bodies have publicly said the concept of mesirah does not, and should never, apply to cases of child sexual abuse. Even today, Waks says, victims remain fearful of being shunned.

“The fact that to this day I am the only victim who has been willing to be named should say plenty,” Waks says.

“It is easier for me than for other victims, because I am no longer in that world. Most child sex abuse victims prefer anonymity because of a range of taboos and stigmas attached to them. It’s very sensitive. 

“But within the Yeshivah community, those issues and barriers are multiplied tenfold, and by speaking out against them, your life will potentially be over. You will feel the consequences, you will be damaged goods.”[...]


  1. This story is heart breaking? How could this be allowed to happen in this day and age.
    Is there any future for Chabad? All their schools worldwide need to be investigated!

  2. Recipients and PublicityMarch 3, 2015 at 5:16 PM

    How is Manny a "troublemaker"?


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