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March 13, 2013

Australian Anti-Abuse Organization Breaks Ties With Chabad Centre After Rabbi's Wife Calls Activist "Moser," Snitch, For Cooperating With Police

Rebbetzin Pnina Feldman closeupTzedek, the anti-child-sexual-abuse organization, says it can confirm that Rebbetzin Feldman indeed called its founder Manny Waks a “moser” (snitch, informer) for informing on Jews who perpetrated unspeakable crimes against children.

Rebbetzin Pnina Feldman closeup
REBBETZIN PNINA FELDMAN

Manny Waks, the lead victim in the Chabad child sexual abuse scandal in Melbourne, Australia and the founder of the anti-child-sexual-abuse organization Tzedek, writes:

The following are relevant statements as a result of the outrageous comments by Rebbetzin Pnina Feldman from the Sydney Yeshiva Centre:

STATEMENT FROM REBBETZIN PNINA FELDMAN

“In response to media requests for comment, I do not intend to publicly explain details of a private conversation that may embarrass or cause pain to certain individuals, including some who may have tragically been the victims of child abuse.

I unequivocally stand by the Halachic rulings that reporting child sexual abuse and in fact any form of physical violence to the relevant government authorities is not Mesirah. I have personally reported such incidents to the Police in the past and have encouraged others to do so.

NSW Police have indicated that media speculation could jeopardize their investigations and interfere with the course of Justice, which is best handled by the authorities who are trained to do so.

Many in the community, including mental health professionals, firmly believe that constant leaking to the media in the midst of a sensitive police investigation only hinders the ability of victims to come forward with their deep personal pain for fear of publicity. In my opinion, such publicity runs the risk of protecting the perpetrators more than it does the victims.

I commend all those involved in seeking Justice and safety for the community, including the Press, however I feel that this has to be done in a professional and sensitive manner as well publicized by our leading Rabbinic authorities and as recommended by the Police.”

STATEMENT FROM TZEDEK:

“Rebbetzin Feldman’s carefully nuanced statement may well have been written with legal advice. The fact that she refuses to comment on allegations of statements attributed to her is unsurprising. That she couches this in terms of concern for “a private conversation that may embarrass or cause pain to certain individuals” is disingenuous. The statements attributed to her are unrelated to any confidential information she claims to have obtained from “some who may have tragically been the victims of child abuse”. Those comments relate directly to Tzedek President, Manny Waks, who was not party to the conversation and certainly does not need to be protected from anything the Rebbetzin is alleged to have said regarding his character. In fact he is eager, as Tzedek is, to have those comments confirmed by the Rebbetzin.

Tzedek can confirm that Rebbetzin Feldman indeed called Manny Waks a “Moser” (police collaborator) for informing on other Jews who have perpetrated unspeakable crimes against children. The Rebbetzin has had the opportunity to either confirm or deny these allegations. As Tzedek has confirmed the accuracy of the allegations, it brings into harsh contrast her most recent statement that that she “unequivocally stand[s] by the Halachic rulings that reporting child sexual abuse….to the relevant government authorities is not Mesirah”. We would have thought that she would be eager to deny the comments attributed to her in order to establish her bona fides regarding that altruistic statement. We request in the strongest terms that she does so immediately. It seems clear that the Rebbetzin indeed believes in the concept of Mesirah in the context of child sexual abuse.

This incident legitimately brings into question all other previous positive statements made by the Sydney Yeshiva Centre, especially those made by her husband and Yeshiva Head, Rabbi Pinchas Feldman.

Tzedek is currently examining all of its options, including whether any of the witnesses to the comments attributed to the Rebbetzin would be willing to testify in a Beth Din (Jewish Court). At least one of the witnesses has stated that they would prefer not to be put in this position as they fear any action on their part would inevitably lead to serious repercussions such as severe intimidation and harassment. We sincerely hope that the individuals concerned will take a strong moral stand.

It should be noted that the bulk of the Rebbetzin’s statement – the final three paragraphs – are completely irrelevant to her outrageous and offensive comments regarding Manny Waks. Rather, it is yet another crude attempt by the Rebbetzin to portray the victims, victim groups and many others who have publicly spoken about their experience of abuse in a negative light. The fact is, despite what the Rebbetzin says, many victims have come forward as a direct result of the ongoing public campaign by Tzedek and others. There is irrefutable evidence to back this up. Indeed, Victoria Police representatives have conveyed their deep appreciation of Tzedek’s work in the public domain, noting Tzedek’s numerous achievements, including that of many new victims stepping forward, as a direct result of Tzedek’s work.

Also, the Rebbetzin’s decision to use the word “leak” in describing the limited and careful information-sharing of instances of abuse with the media is most unfortunate. It is consistent with her attempt to portray some victims in a negative light.

Clearly Rebbetzin Feldman has failed in her attempts to deflect her initial ignorant and offensive remarks.

Tzedek has made the difficult decision to sever ties with the Sydney Yeshiva Centre and its representatives until a full retraction and public apology is issued by Rebbetzin Feldman. Of course this would not mean that the Rebbetzin’s repugnant views have altered but at least it would provide a context in which a way forward may be achieved.”

Comments

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Reminds me of the Manis Friedman apology.
If you believe the Manis Friedman apology or the above statement from Pnina Feldman have any veracity then you must surely also believe in the tooth fairy.

Who didn't see this coming? Hands?

Posted by: Mark
"Hopefully this will cause them to change their ways."

("Buying stock in 'Flying Pigs Ltd.', 'Hell's Frosty Snowcones, S.A.', and 'Butt dispensed Airborned Simians Inc'.")

This is an excellent step in showing the world at large how Chabad protects rapists.

It is very misleading when you have a headline of an alleged incident with no proof provided. If there is no evidence other than manny waks and his brother in law said so, then your headline shouldn't sound as you are stating a fact. I don't know what happened, but when you put up headlines like that, you are not being fair, and if you are mistaken then you have committed a serious injustice

Does anyone know if the Halachik literature on the subject entertains the notion of "justified mesirah?"

This "Rebitzin" made no mistake. She spoke her mind and echoed the thoughts of many when she called Manny a moser. Only when it went public did she see the need to confess or deny? The question will remain why did she say it in the first place and whose view does she reflect. Such a high profile individual does not make mistakes and faux pas such as these. NOT HAPPY PENINA!

Shalom [Feldman]: you want evidence? Here:

Tzedek
As an addendum to this new scandal (https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=223912374417363&id=216632805145320), we have just received additional information from a witness (verbatim):

"I can confirm that I was a witness at the incident in which Rebbetzin Pnina Feldman confronted Dovy Rapoport (the brother in law of Manny Waks) in an unprovoked attack. It happened around 6:45pm on Wednesday 6 March in the Yeshiva Centre courtyard on Flood St Bondi, at a Feldman family simcha [celebration]. There were quite a few witnesses, including Rabbi Eli Feldman, the Rebbetzin's son, and Fruma Shapiro, the Rebbetzin's eldest (married) daughter who were at the Rebbetzin's side when she made those remarks. The Rebbetzin referred to Manny Waks as a "masser" [collaborator with non-Jewish authorities about the crimes of a Jew] and his family as lacking respect for anyone. (There were also some derogatory comments directed to Dovy Rapoport regarding himself and his wife, who was not present.) I was shocked and horrified by Rebbetzin Feldman's comments. So were some of the others who were present."

Enough is enough – we will no longer remain silent.

Ex Chabad, again, an anonymous witness who gave a statement to Manny Waks is not any evidence at all. If this witness was willing to let their name be known or go to beis din then they might have some credibility. But the fact that you take Manny Waks word on some topic without any questioning of his evidence or sources is very careless, and this can lead to corruption and abuses when everyone just believes someone to the point they are no longer required to provide evidence of their defamatory claims about others. If no one has video of the rebbetzin saying this, and no one is willing to come forward to testify, then people are still innocent until proven guilty. Just something to think about

"Enough is enough – we will no longer remain silent" is great, but it can't be anonymous hearsay.

Shalom: Like many others in Sydney, I have personal experience of Pnina Feldman. Anyone who knows her, knows this story to be true as it is just a repeat of her behaviour over and over again. Let her deny it in a Beis Din, let her children Fruma and Eli deny it in a Beis Din. I can guarantee you that they will not do so. It happened mate, and you know it did, you are just another part of the Feldman-rent-a-crowd commenters. Thank G-d for Manny Waks and those like him prepared to stand up for the truth, not those like you who try to dumb it down. How would you feel if one of your family had been assaulted? or abused? or verbally and publicly attacked? Would you still be writing inane apologies for the Feldmans and their ilk?

I never met the Feldmans and I personally grew up in California and have never been to Australia. All I am saying is that it is a potentially dangerous situation when Manny Waks can make a claim without any solid evidence, and everyone believes him. I don't know Manny Waks and he may be a very honest upright individual who would never do anything dishonest, but if it turned out that he had a bone to pick or wanted to get revenge against someone that he didn't like, he could write any lie he wants to and given the current situation everyone will believe it. Whenever this type of situation occurs, everyone must still take each new claim and accusation and use their rational faculties before jumping to a conclusion on the basis that "Manny said it so it must be true."

Your point is taken Shalom, but you need to understand one thing: those of us who have lived in Sydney/Melbourne and experienced these people personally, for X number of years, have had enough. These communities are riddled with abuse, and it's been covered up for so long that people have forgotten that it's even possible to stand up to it. Finally there is someone [Manny] who has taken them on, and yasher koach to him, for being so brave and willing to put himself out there on behalf of us all. He has done a major mitzvah in exposing the abuse, and he continues to expose the abusive rabbis/rebetzins of the communities, without being put off by those who try to stop him - Pnina Feldman being the main culprit at this point in time.

The very fact that she issued a statement is all the proof we need that she did in fact say the things Manny has alleged, othewise she would not have bothered to brief her lawyers to put out her pathetic cover-up response.

Maybe she was misunderstood, and what she meant to say was that MW is a "Baal mussar" - i.e. person of great ethical integrity.

Sydney, I hope Manny succeeds but I have no idea what his goals are. I am not there and I don't know anyone there. Maybe he's got public service announcements on the trailer of every kid video; maybe he's got messages in every religious school newspaper, in every pediatrician's office, on every shul door, in every mikvah and maybe if you search "my rabbi touched me" in Australia Tzedek pops up.

To me, from here, it looks like eventually he will sever from the couple of places he thought he had coalesced with and all that will be left is "Manny says." It will be a horrible loss of opportunity.

Check out Peninas statement above:

I have personally reported such incidents to the Police in the past and have encouraged others to do so.

HOW ON EARTH CAN THIS BE!!!!????

Her husband is on record with words to the effect that no one has ever come to him with a complaint of this nature!

Like I said in the 1st post this is a job for the Tooth Fairy

The reality is that if Penina Gutnick/Feldman had not said it then she would have run to her lawyers and this matter would be headed to the NSW Supreme Court.....

Sholom can spin all he likes but we all know what his mother is like....

The irony will be if the new Pope starts cleaning up the church and we will be the ones the world points to as enablers and paedophiles.

I vote manny for pope!!

Does anyone from Sydney know if Yonasan B ever messed with kids, or only adults?

www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?id=306386

I know Pnina has gone to the police over violence abuse against the Feldman crowd. Now would she co-operate with the police when her crowd is in the wrong is my question.

to Syd

YES

but bothing has been done

well well well how the mighty have fallen. same words. same tricks to cover up. nothing changes. they want the police to deal with it as they the rabbinim make deals with the police to close down the cases as has happened here in jerusalem.
well binyamin schatz is now guilty and going to jail. he was the half wit used by the bosses like skippy and dear skippy is walking around free of course.
no justice for the children. and after you said that there were no gangs here in nachlaot, explain to me how the helper gets jail and the boss walks free.
he is such a half wit , dear binyamin he needed help. its now 150 children damaged for life here.
at least 103 years were given to the rabbi in america. a good sign. and astralia is starting to do something. now if jerusalem will only start doing something.
one of the reasons the haradim did not get into the new government. hashem will not be mocked. they cover up crimes all the time .
dont be so quick to call me a liar, you will see how the truth will come out. and when it does where is the public apology for me ???
manny wacs good for you. we here in jerusalem are blessing your efforts.

Syd,

Do you think Yonasan B will have to face the legal system after what he has done?
I have NOT seen his name mentioned till now,but I do hope he faces the full force of the law.
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