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Child abuse in the Jewish Community of Melbourne – two documentaries

Manny Waks was abused in Melbourne’s orthodox Jewish community two decades ago.

He’s been on my radar for a while, but a commentator just sent me two recent documentaries (2014) where he and his family are telling the real story of what happened to him.

It’s entitled ‘An Orthodox Jewish father breaks his silence’.


He’s very brave to explain what happened to him, and the terrible impact it had both on him, and his family.

And his parents are also very brave, for telling their story publically.

They have been ostracised by their community for telling the truth – and it’s also caused so many problems within the family itself.

This is so very hard, for everyone who is involved.

But the main point here, is that we all need to stop covering this up.

This is much harder than it sounds, for many reasons.

We will come back to this topic of how to stop covering this stuff up in more detail very soon – in an halachically appropriate way.


This is the second documentary:

It particularly focuses on how the Chabad rabbis in Melbourne tried to cover all this up, and how they blacklisted Zephaniah Waks and his family, and made sure they were ostracised from the community for speaking out.

This is a screenshot of a text that a senior Chabad rabbi sent to Zeddy Lawrence, editor of the Australian Jewish News, attacking Zephaniah Waks during the Royal Commission proceedings where Chabad rabbis in Melbourne were put on the stand to explain their actions:


How can anyone justify this?

Please watch, and come to your own conclusions.


And while we’re at it, don’t forget THIS:


And this is not just happening in Chabad, or in Gur, or in Melbourne.

It’s happening in so many of the ‘orthodox’ communities, that devolved from Jonathan Eybshutz’s Sabbetean disciples and descendants.

It’s time to get to grips with this issue once and for all, and to uproot this terrible poison.



A friend just emailed me this. It so sums things up.


Also, I just had to remove the ‘Chabad’ tag from this post, as it wasn’t loading the site even for me.

This is one of the myriad ways all this information continues to be censored, so the abusers can continue abusing, while we all sit here none the wiser to what is really going oin…

Ad matai, Tatty?


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11 replies
  1. Shimshon
    Shimshon says:

    Yaakov Litzman’s first action as Health Minister was launching an effort to undo one of the only good things of his Meretz predecessor Yael German, which was the elimination of fluoridated water in the country. His zeal for this was beyond belief, to the point of getting a law passed to reinstate it, which, blessedly, has not been carried out due to lack of funding, and the fact that Ms. German was herself so zealous that all equipment wasn’t just turned off, but actually destroyed. Did he personally accept a bribe for this? Probably not. But we know how these things work. No doubt, one or more institutions of interest to him received substantial donations in exchange for his interest by parties who would benefit from this legalized dumping of toxic waste into the water supply rather than expensive sequestration.

    There are so many genuinely positive things he could have advocated for as Health Minister, yet he ignored them all to focus solely on that. Why not even a token effort to reduce public funding of abortion, among many evils he could have tackled?

    That he made Malka Leifer’s welfare another priority should not be surprising.

  2. Yossi
    Yossi says:

    Oh the things I could tell you about what goes on in Mea Shearim/Geula/etc… Somehow I’ve found myself in the middle of it all, and I frequently want to puke. At one time in life, I wanted to move there. Now I want to stay far far away. It is a shame that the Rav is near all of that.

  3. Israel
    Israel says:

    I’ll propose that the kid was abused because the father was a tyrant. The kid was taught to obey or else. Don’t you read the Rambam sir? You are not to tyrannize your home.

    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      While it’s true that abusers usually go for kids that they can ‘sense’ are neglected or already softened up to ‘obey’, in some way, you can see from this documentary that the father made total teshuva about that.

      And that still doesn’t excuse the disgusting behavior of the senior Chabad rabbis in Melbourne who continued to cover up what was going on, and even helped one of the perpetrators to escape to the USA, where he then went on to rape more small children, apparently all in the name of ‘protecting the Chabad brand’.

      There are many different aspects to this.

      And your comment seems to come perilously close to ‘blaming the victim’.

      • Israel
        Israel says:

        I don’t see how that’s blaming the victim at all. I’m saying the father admits he was tyrannical in the home. This creates children who tend to be over obedient to authority and who are not in touch with their feelings. The kid is the victim of that, and then the abuser taking advantage of that. When you are not in touch with your feelings, and somebody does something icky to you, you tend to let it go. You are used to numbing out. As for the father, I admire his backing up his kid at a huge price when all this came out. That’s awesome. But he also said it’s not the parents’ fault, that there was nothing they could do. Well in addition to the father not being tyrannical in the home, the parents shouldn’t have let the kid be taking rides with grown men or being alone with them.

        • Rivka Levy
          Rivka Levy says:

          I was with you until the last statement, about the father not letting his kid ride in a car with another adult male.

          That again sounds like blaming the parent for something that 99% of parents would also do, in the same situation.

    • Hava
      Hava says:

      I propose it was at least one or more of the following:

      1) because he was what a certain kind of person calls a “pretty boy.” The fact that two of his younger brothers were molested as well (they all resemble their mother, and we don’t know from the videos where her family comes from, but I’m betting she’s Mizrahiah, from one of the Middle Eastern countries around here.).

      2) The community environment, which could be said to encouraged the father’s tendency to be a “tyrant” as you put it.

      3) They lived across the street from the shul: Easy access. (Other children were molested by these people, who didn’t live so close by. One of them is in the video.)

      None of these reasons blames the victim, or even hints that he’s especially neglected, any more than any other kid there.

  4. Y k
    Y k says:

    I know this brings a lot of light but exactly how does this help keep people in the drum world and no in the secular there ar meant more problems with corruption and abuse or at least equal in the secular world How do you keep your children safe I am really wondering because predators of one kind or another are always there even their peers can be predators in a way They may want to hurt them even family god forbid I barely trust anyone today We have our kids on cyber and I’m not sure I’m sending them back to school in person at all

  5. Daisy
    Daisy says:

    Thank you for exposing this, Rivka!

    We have an acquaintance, a man who used to live here in the Catskills, who was also abused in the Chabad Mikvah of Crown Heights as a child – strangely enough he became a Karate guy himself, and eventually also left Torah, having being rejected by the community because of this whole story: actually what happened to him is that he ended up perpetuating the abuse he had been subjected to, becoming a child abuser himself! Very sad story: he was a talented, interesting, attractive person who went totally berserk over time. Such damage to the Neshamah, it’s terrible! How can supposedly “religious” Jews cover up Mishkav Zachar of all things, an abomination punishable by capital punishment in the Torah, when simply exposing the facts would stop the behavior? What corruption of the mind, of the soul, of Torah itself, it seems to me: where is these rabbis’s Neshamah?? Do they even have one, or has it become so polluted that they don’t realize the abomination they are perpetrating? I am no Talmidah Chachamah, but the spirit of it all feels so dirty, so disgusting! Good thing you are exposing this, Rivka, I am all for it, frankly!


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