The culture of the frum (orthodox Jewish) community makes it hard to publicly challenge abuse let alone bring charges to the civil justice system. Sometimes those who leave orthodoxy are less inhibited and more effective in fighting abuse.
For example, Manny Waks grew up in Chabad in Melbourne, Australia. During his school years he was abused. As an adult, when he was no longer orthodox, he became an anti-abuse activist, founding and leading Australia’s highly effective Tzedek. He also pressed charges and gave an important statement at the sentencing of his abuser, David Cyprys.
No good deed goes unpunished. He was beyond the reach of Chabad. But his parents who supported him and remained committed ultra-orthodox Jews were shunned in the community in which they built their lives. Eventually they gave up and moved out of that community but not out of orthodoxy. Instead they moved to another neighborhood and synagogue and spend part of their year in Israel.
As part of Manny’s anti-abuse activism he personally supports a petition campaign organized by Jews for Justice for Yeshivah’s Victims asking Rabbi Avrohom Glick and Mr. Don Wolf, the leadership of Melbourne’s Chabad Yeshivah Centre, to “Apologise to the innocent victims who were sexually abused as children on your watch and resign from all positions of leadership.” This initiative got coverage in the Australian paper, The Age.
Zephaniah Waks and his son, Manny Waks
Some people use the Days of Awe (The period leading up to Yom Kippur) to improve themselves. Then there are others like Mrs. Pnina Feldman, principal of the Chabad girls’ high school in Sydney whose husband, Pinchos Feldman, dominates Chabad in Sydney. Pninah Feldman couldn’t abide the thought of being asked to behave like a good Jew, and have Chabad leadership in Melbourne admit its sins and apologize. So she used the season’s motif to play the frum card and instead chastise Manny Waks. In her sloppiness she addressed the message below to the sheitel business owned by Manny’s orthodox parents. (It was posted last week in Failed Messiah but without the reply by Manny’s father.)
From: Pnina Feldman
Sent: Friday, October 3, 2014
To: waks wigs
Subject: Re: Grassroots petition re Yeshivah Centre Melbourne
Why do you keep highlighting Yeshiva?! Before the pedophile issues you went running to The Age re BER issues. There’s always something with you and Yeshiva. Get over it already- whatever it is that makes you think that attacking Yeshiva justifies your not being frum. There is something very ugly and personal about your antiYeshiva campaign. Just because a security guard molested you don’t blame Yeshiva! A principal in Moriah College (not Jewish) once molested nearly half the girls in the school! NONE of whom have ever blamed the school! Get over it! You need counselling! I haven’t met a person yet with one nice word to say about you. Most people consider you a lowlife- not because of Continue reading