The following message was distributed by Manny Waks via his Facebook page on November 4 2012. I encourage anyone who has any relevant information to come forward to the police. Manny has requested any direct contact with him to be via Facebook.
Over the year or so since I went public with my story of child sexual abuse at Melbourne’s Yeshivah, I’ve been entrusted with allegations relating to numerous other victims/perpetrators.
I want to share one of these with you. A prominent Jewish Australian who’s a household name, informed me that during his Bar-Mitzvah classes (several decades ago) at an Orthodox synagogue (not ultra-Orthodox), the prominent and highly respected rabbi (who for the time being will remain nameless) would expose himself and masturbate in front of him. At this stage, decades later, the victim still does not want to share his story with the police – as he told me, even his parents aren’t aware of his experience.
The reason I’ve elected to share this particular serious allegation is to point out a number of important points:
• anyone can be a victim;
• anyone can be a perpetrator;
• it is not just a Yeshivah/Adass/ultra-Orthodox issue; and
• many victims are still reluctant to share their experience with anyone, including family members and the police.
After holding discussions with the police on this matter, they have advised that they are unable to take any action, as the victim must provide a statement. Consistent with the way paedophiles work, it is reasonable to assume that this prominent rabbi would have done similar things to other children.
So I urge anyone who was also exposed to any such experience, especially similar to the story described above, to report the matter to the police – of course if you are aware of any other cases of sexual abuse, whether perpetrated against you or anyone else, please report this information to the police. It’s important that they are informed of everything so that they can have a broader picture of what has been happening. Because the picture that I currently have is very grim – in my opinion it’s not a question of whether instances of abuse were on a similar scale to the Catholic Church but rather whether this will all become public…..
Contact details (Melbourne, Australia):
Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team
(03) 9556 6129
Detective Senior Constable Jonathan RUSSELL (or others in the team)
If you’re reluctant to make a confidential statement to the police, please realise that you’re not alone – it’s common! But please consider that if you go to the police, you’ll be:
• pursuing justice;
• assisting other past victims; and
• protecting potential victims.
Please feel free to contact me in complete confidence if I can be of any assistance.
On July 27 2011 I had a conversation with Manny Waks, then president of the Canberra Jewish Community and a Vice President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, in which he agreed to sponsor a motion at the 2011 AGM of the ECAJ promoting greater respect of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Australia’s Jewish community.
Four months later, on November 27 2011, the following resolution was unanimously passed at the ECAJ AGM:
Policy on counteracting hatred and discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons
RECOGNISES that the Australian Jewish community is part of the Jewish people worldwide, with a shared history, culture and religious tradition is at the same time diverse and pluralistic, with its members holding different views on a range of issues;
CALLS FOR mutual respect for the human dignity of all members of the community, despite any strongly held differences; recognition that disagreement is possible in ways that do not vilify other persons or their views; and avoidance of any public or private conduct that incites hatred, ridicule or contempt of another person or class of persons on the ground of their sexual orientation or gender identity; and, in accordance with the aforesaid principles;
OPPOSES any form of hatred of any person on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity;
ACKNOWLEDGES that there is still much work to be done to remove intolerance of and unlawful discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons in the Jewish community and the wider Australian community, and to provide adequate services and support for them and their families; and
CALLS ON persons and organisations in the Jewish community to support that work both in our community and in the wider Australian community.
This motion passed by the ECAJ joins similar motions passed by the Victorian, New South Wales and ACT Jewish communities. Whilst time will tell how effective these motions will be in helping provide a safer and more tolerant place for GLBT Australians, I am confident that this milestone in the history of Australian Jewry will help pave the way to a greater understanding, acceptance and inclusion of GLBT people.
One of the better kept secrets of same-sex relationships are the number of people who have been together for a really long time. Over the years I’ve met many same-sex couples who have been in long-term relationships.
The Commitment Project is a web site that showcases same-sex relationships that have outlasted the median length of an Australian marriage, which is approximately 8.8 years.
Have a wander through the pages and enjoy the stories and photos you’ll find there. Some great examples of love, against the odds. While you’re at it, connect via the Facebook page for the project and help pass the word on.
I hope I can one day be a part of this project. I’ve got another 6 or so years before I’m eligible. I am confident that Australian law will allow same-sex marriages by then though.
This news of a brutal attack on Simon Margan, a Jewish gay man in Sydney, is extremely disturbing. Whilst there does not yet appear to be any indication Simon was brutally attacked because he was Jewish, there appears to be strong evidence he was attacked because he was gay. Despite that, there needs to be support from the Jewish community to say that it is unacceptable for any member of the Jewish community to be subjected to vicious hate attacks, especially if they are motivated by homophobic intolerance.
There has been no visible support from the Australian Jewish community to date on this matter, specifically addressing homophobic intolerance and violence. This situation is now critical and there must be strong, visible support from the entire Australian Jewish community that hate crime and intolerance based on sexual orientation is unacceptable. There must also be a strong message that any intolerance of a person based on their sexual orientation is completely unacceptable.
I call on the leaders of the Australian Jewish community to take an immediate and effective stand.
I hope to see a media statement from the Jewish community issued before the end of this week.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Roy Freeman
Date: 12 August 2010 14:35
Subject: [Dayenu] Oxford Street Attacks
To: Dayenu Yahoo
I just wanted to share with you news of this disturbing unprovoked attack that took place on Oxford Street on Monday evening. Gay-rights activist and Dayenu member, Simon Margan, was attacked along with 5 other people before the assailant was caught. Simon was kicked in the eye, which shattered his eye socket. He will have to have plastic surgery as a result.
If you were around Oxford Street on Monday evening and witnessed any of these attacks, please contact Surry Hills police.