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May 26, 2013

Alleged Chabad Racism And Bullying

Manny"…At that time, I cannot recall any other dark-skinned members of the Yeshivah (Chabad) community. We were it. We were different. And to a community in which yichus (lineage – in this context, preferably a Chabad ancestry) is such a central concept, boy did they let us know. Immediately upon our arrival, still very visibly Israeli, we were referred to as “DIBs” (Dirty Israeli Bastards) and monkeys. Other profanities were constantly thrown our way. Then it became physical.…we were bullied, vilified and beaten.…The abuse was carried out by kids our own age and kids who were much older.…"

Manny
Manny Waks as a child

Originally published at 10:47 pm CDT 5-25-2013

Manny Waks writes:

Recently I wrote the post below. For a number of reasons I have refrained from posting it. In light of the racism developments over the past 24 hours, I have chosen to post it here tonight in tribute to Adam Goodes:

Interestingly, some from within the Yeshivah community claim that my motivation in launching the ongoing public anti-child sexual abuse campaign is motivated by some anti-Yeshivah agenda and jump at every opportunity to question my motives. I’m resigned to the fact that no matter what I say or do, those within the Yeshivah community who feel that this is indeed an anti-Yeshivah crusade will never be convinced otherwise.

Let me be clear, my motivation for my public campaign is for the sake of justice, accountability and to ensure attitudes and actions are changed in order to prevent a repeat of what has happened in this community (and many other like communities) for decades. I believe that anyone who knows this community well and has a reliable moral compass will understand the need for change, and will be able to recognise the pivotal work that is in fact being done now.

Growing up in a Chabad (ultra-Orthodox) community was a privilege in so many ways, as David Lerner writes in his excellent piece (http://www.unpious.com/2012/12/the-weberman-trial-or-the-wolf-who-cried-bias/). I too, although I have chosen not to be a member of this community any longer, feel close to it, understand its inner workings deeply, and will always, maintain a strong love for it. Perhaps that is the reason that I care so much, because as David Lerner puts it, they ‘are our sisters, our brothers, our friends’.

I also care because I was taught to love my fellow Jew, and not to stand idly by when I witness injustices. Perhaps also because where I see hypocrisy and action/inaction which detrimentally impacts the innocent, I believe it is my responsibility to speak up.

This is what I was taught, but this is not what I witnessed in my community as I was growing up.

In this context I will share another personal story from my childhood, growing up in a new country and a new community.

By now you’re aware of the sexual abuse I suffered at the hands of two separate perpetrators. You’d also be aware of the many other cases of child sexual abuse in this community (and the many other stories that are yet to be revealed), the ongoing cover-ups and the regrettable attitude by some within Yeshivah, including some within its leadership.

Last year I was humbled to have been asked to join other global leaders to write a chapter for a prestigious book entitled ‘The Book of Faith’, which is due to be published in the next year or so. Recent developments have prompted me to post a short but important paragraph from my draft:

‘Similarly, due to the colour of our skin, my family’s experience of ongoing outright racism targeting us children, including through the use of violence, by numerous members of the Habad community would also have impacted my attitude towards my faith.’

I was born in Israel in 1976 to a mother of Yemenite descent and an Australian-born (Ashkenazi) father who was a ba’al-teshuvah (a person who embraces Orthodox Judaism later in life). I arrived in Sydney, my dad’s hometown, with my parents and seven siblings in 1984 (at the age of seven). About 18 months later we relocated to Melbourne for my dad’s work. Along the way more children were born and there are now seventeen of us.

At that time, I cannot recall any other dark-skinned members of the Yeshivah (Chabad) community. We were it. We were different. And to a community in which yichus (lineage – in this context, preferably a Chabad ancestry) is such a central concept, boy did they let us know.

Immediately upon our arrival, still very visibly Israeli, we were referred to as “DIBs” (Dirty Israeli Bastards) and monkeys. Other profanities were constantly thrown our way. Then it became physical. I was the oldest boy with five boys immediately after me. I would have been around 9-10 years old. I vividly recall that each and every weekend on Sabbath afternoon – ironically in between and during the prayer services – we were bullied, vilified and beaten. In one particular and shocking incident, I recall that one of my younger siblings was thrown into a rubbish bin. The abuse was carried out by kids our own age and kids who were much older.

At one point we decided enough was enough and started standing up for ourselves.

Lest you think that only children were involved, I can assure you that many adults were aware of this open racism. In fact, some outrightly participated. One shocking incident has never escaped my mind. One of my younger siblings responded to the ongoing racism by fighting back and ultimately hurting a child. This child’s father, a prominent member of the Yeshivah community, grabbed my brother who was standing fairly close to me, and physically flung him over several meters to the side entrance of Yeshivah, where what I would describe as a mob was standing beneath the stairs. The father, red in the face from anger and still holding my small, defenceless brother by the scruff of the neck while shaking him, was yelling profanities about our family. I was watching all of this unfold from the side. I was mortified. I was angry. No one intervened. Not any children. Not any adults. Rather, the response was a continuous war cry against my family.

I recall subsequently sharing this incident with my dad who was inside the synagogue praying. It was later that evening that for the first time ever I witnessed my dad crying. He called my mum into a private section of our house and, as the oldest boy, he asked me to join them. In tears, we conveyed to my mother what had transpired that afternoon. My parents were aware of what was happening each weekend but this was breaking point. It was devastating to say the least. After this incident, my dad approached Rabbi Groner to try to take the person to a Din Torah (Jewish Court) but apparently Rabbi Groner refused to do anything.

At some stage, our post-army cousin came to visit us from Israel. I recall one incident in which he physically responded to a physical assault on one of my siblings. His presence and reaction gave us the additional confidence we needed to respond. Which we did, and soon after, the physical assaults stopped. Ultimately, the verbal abuse also stopped.

Years later, in discussing these experiences with my mother, she shared with us her devastation at waiting at home (which is literally across the road from Yeshivah) every Sabbath afternoon for at least one of her kids to run back home crying with an injury (physical or otherwise) or with other hurtful information. She recollected how her stomach used to turn during those long afternoons.

One sibling recalls being referred to as a teacher’s “favourite Abo”. Another was repeatedly called an “Abo” by another adult member of the community. At least two younger siblings recently shared with me how they wished they were white due to the constant racial vilification.

I recognise that aspects of my childhood were tough, but there are children in far worse situations. Perhaps it’s the resilience in me that allows me to move forward confidently. Perhaps it’s also my experiences that contributed to my level of resilience.

While I am critical of many attitudes and practices within the ultra-Orthodox community, as I’ve repeatedly mentioned elsewhere, I also respect a lot of what they have done and continue to do for the Jewish community. However, in my opinion, the fundamental issue with the ultra-Orthodox community is that there is a refusal to accept the deep flaws that exist within this community. In this context, please see this very insightful and powerful presentation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVhtrHE6SjE&feature=youtu.be (I recommend watching the entire clip, however especially minutes 17-21 relate to this point).

Ultimately, the main point of this post is to highlight another deep-rooted flaw within this community in order to further instigate genuine self-reflection, which will hopefully lead to fundamental and sustainable changes. When a community chooses to preach, it must also practise that which it preaches. Fundamental religious principles taught in the ultra-Orthodox classrooms were, and are, all too frequently breached. Sadly, the hypocrisies are pervasive. It is time to ensure attitudes and actions are changed in order to prevent a repeat of what has transpired here and in other places, literally for decades. It is time to live by example. The disingenuous "holier than thou" attitude must cease immediately. That’s a good place to start.

Comments

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I am sure they don't discuss things like this while doing kiruv.

What happened to "David"s comment: "alleged"? A sockpuppet?

Nasty bastards!Btw,what religion is Chabad?It's some kind of weird Xtian cult,isn't it?

I truly don't understand Zephnia. His kids were sexually, physically and racially abused - but that didn't stop him sending all 17 of them to that school. 17!!!

Which normal parent behaves this way?
OTOH seeing that he too (Zephania) tossed his young kids out on to the street, maybe he considered abuse to be "good for them".

Go figure.

I am sure they don't discuss things like this while doing kiruv.

Posted by: Yochanan Lavie | May 25, 2013 at 11:02 PM
__________________________________________

Of course not. My nephew *insists* they don't even care about "yichus".

"Growing up in a Chabad (ultra-Orthodox) community was a privilege in so many ways, as David Lerner writes in his excellent piece (http://www.unpious.com/2012/12/the-weberman-trial-or-the-wolf-who-cried-bias/). I too, although I have chosen not to be a member of this community any longer, feel close to it, understand its inner workings deeply, and will always, maintain a strong love for it."

This is the problem; he's still in denial. It's most likely the main reason they don't leave the community.

Lubavitchers are self-righteous,pompous,idol/grave worshipping pagan sorcerers who indulge in darkhe ha Emori and avodah zarah all the time.I really do not understand how on earth someone can feel any desire to be a part of their community of voodoo-like chicken swinging-above-the-head shamans

TO Bobby Barash.

You are 100% correct.


If these racial slurs ans assualts are true Why in the world would Zefania still live in that community??
Why subject your children to such things??
The mother being a yeminite herself knew very well that the kids were targets for being called monkey and nigger, Why did she move to Australia??
Those days the ecomomy was far better to find a job elseware.

WHY DIDN'T THE WAKS'S LISTEN TO THE REBBE WHEN THEY ASKED IF THEY SHOULS MOVE OUT OF ISRAEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Manny and his brothers didn't deserve this bat evedently they paid a VERY HIGH price for their parents mistake.

His father was a BT who became religious in the mid-1970's (same period of time that I became a BT).

The need to feel accepted when you become a BT is huge. You join this cult for the same reason people join any cult- you want to feel accepted and loved by the group- and that's the promise of joining a religious cult like Chabad.
Even if it means subjecting yourself and your kids to harassment, you keep rationalizing it away, sort of like Jeff describes his nephew as doing.
Even if it means sending all 17 kids through such an awful system, you keep telling yourself this will make you accepted by them. The Rebbe says blah blah blah, the rebbe, the rebbe, the rebbe, we are in golus, moshiach is coming, blah blah blah.

And Put a Square, what the hell difference does it make "they should have listened to the rebbe"? Stop worshipping the Rebbe. He decides everything that everyone must do??? Schneerson gets signals from God with orders to tell everyone? No one is allowed to make any decision on their own, only Schneerson gets to decide what is best for you? Why can't they move out of Israel and not be subject to assaults, molestation, and harassment? Or was this done on the Rebbe's orders, to teach them a lesson about disobeying The Mighty Schneerson?

TO WSC

YES> Whwen you choose to become a BT and you become a chusid (of any Rebbe) you LISTEN and thats it!
You can see it whichever way you like.
If you join OORAH you will follow Rabbi Kotler in Lakewood.
If you join Satmar you listen to Rabbi Tietelbaum.
If you join Chabad like Zefania did you listen to the Rebbe.
PERIOD.
If not you end up living out of your mothers basement in the midwest
Thats the was it is. You know this very well. You can change you affiliation whenever you want as I did.
up in Monsey-New Square. I was molested by a relitive of Twerskey I LEFT THEM.....
Call it insane call it a cult the choice is yours the pacts stay the same.
Mrs Waks being a yeminite knew good and well that her children can be born dark skined and might be looked upon as 2nd class citizens(Manny even says so in his post) but instead of living in a yeminite neighborhood she choose to move down under where she and her husband knew very well that they will be the only dark skinned family there.

This explains a lot about how the public school students in ER can be treated the way the are...94% children of color. If this group doesn't accept their own people of color...what met the board think of Christian children of color?

" my motivation for my public campaign"

Manny, it has to stop being "my" and "me" if you want Tzedek to succeed at "justice, accountability and to ensure attitudes and actions are changed." You can already see, or should be able to see, how this is not going to work or only work minimally in accomplishing your goals.

Put a Square, you are right, when you join one of the hasidic cults you give up all rights to make your own decisions. What the rebbe says it all that matters.
If you don't listen, then your kids get molested and you get treated like dirt. And it's your own fault for not listening. When word gets out that you disobeyed an order from the rebbe, it's perfectly ok to attack you and your children.
And his wife should have stayed in a neighborhood with other dark skinned types. That's where they belong. How dare she move to a white area and expect to be treated like a regular person by the frumma.

TO WSC

I was saying that it was Mrs. W that took a chance even though she knew that this issue was problematic. It would be the same thing if you were to move into Williamsburg and in the face of the Satmar community. You would feel the same way. You would be looked at diffrently.
30 years ago you would never find a yeminite family in the chasidic communities except in Chabad in Israel. Today you find it in New Square, Monroe, Kiryas Joel and also in all neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

When you listen to your Rebbe you have the belief that you are doing the right thing. If you and others like Shmarya have issue with that then thats your problem.
Each to his own.
Lets just remember that pedophiles and rapist come from all walks of life from the cathlic priest to the chasidishe and everything in between..
I didn't say that people in Australia even knew obout the answer that they received 30 years ago from the Rebbe.
I am not agreeing that the kids deserve to get raped in the schools.

"The Rebbe says blah blah blah, the rebbe, the rebbe, the rebbe, we are in golus, moshiach is coming, blah blah blah."

It's a kind of self-hypnosis, reinforced by the collective and the fact that everyone else around you is doing precisely the same thing.

"The need to feel accepted when you become a BT is huge."

I'm convinced that's the reason my nephew is there - but get him to admit it? Not a chance.

"I am not agreeing that the kids deserve to get raped in the schools."

No, you're just saying they reaped what the parents sowed by not listening to the rebbe.

Seriously, grow the hell up.

JEFF
WTF

I wrote that rapeist and pedophiles are IN ALL PLACES. Israel Australia and in america also.
I am sure that Mrs W is an inteligent woman. All I said is that she should have concidered this fact before she moved down under. Mabey just Mabey the Rebbe saw that these problems would happen and therfore advisid them to stay in Israel where being yeminite is more acceptable.
Ofcourse its racist I am not saying it's not or that it's ok.

Put a Square,
If she is orthodox and observing all the Chabad stuff then why should she be treated like a second class citizen by them? Don't they preach all that crap about loving all Jews unconditionally? Even 30 years ago I remember they said that openly, but behind closed doors there was plenty of racism that you'd hear from Lubavitchers.
I realize there is a certain reality when your skin is dark. So what should a religious Jew with black skin do? I would recommend they stop being orthodox. It's like trying to be gay and orthodox. It just won't work.

If I, or Shmarya, have decided to make our own decisions in life, and not take orders from a Rebbe, I sleep peacefully knowing that my brain is free to think and that I am a free man living in America. I like going to shul and observing some things. I'll make my own decisions, and consult with people whose opinion I value if I need to make difficult decisions. If that person is a rabbi, I will give his opinion due consideration, but I will make up my own mind. And if the result means I live in my parents basement, then so be it. I would rather be a free man in a basement apartment than a robot living in a fancy house in Crown Heights.

WSC

You are very correct that people can take ADVISE from the Rebbe and do as they please. Thats EXACTLY what the Wakses were probebly thinking."we heard the Rebbe now we will do what we want"
They thought that the Rebbe is intilted to his opinion.....

I don't know where you lived in the past 30 years but as I wrote above being yeminite and chasidish is more common.
Yes there is racism. No it's not normal but that's life in the world.

"in tribute to Adam Goodes".....

Kol hakavod Manny.....

Chabad could learn a lot from Adam Goodes....A true mench....

What's especially repulsive about the racism of these Chabadniks is the hypocrisy it represents. The Lubavitchers used to circulate around New York in their mitzvahmobiles trying to get non-Orthodox Jews to put on tefilin, to become BTs yet they treat this BT family like scum. Holier-than-thou hypocritical fools is what they are.

Jeff, you know your nephew is in for a rude awakening shidduch time re: yichus.

I believe many waks 100 % . chabad is evil . chabad discriminates and hurts children , ppl that are not like them , especially dark skin ppl .
parents who send their children to chabad schools or yeshiva are crazy . they are not aware of the danger those children are going through . those children will be scarred for the rest of their life , emotionally scarred .

Here is some of the interview with Manny in the Melbourne Age from 2008 (before he began to make the abuse claims):

"...from the age of 13 — when a Jewish boy has his barmitzvah and is considered a man under traditional law — he had been rebelling against the religious mores of his family.

"Around that time, I broke shabbat for the first time," he says. ... "Perhaps ordinary teenage rebellion had a lot to do with it, but the most important element was my desire to shake this heavy load off my back."

More transgressions followed, including eating non-kosher food. Waks is still not entirely sure what compelled him to discard all the rules and regulations he'd been raised with, but he says he was a "non-conformist" from an early age.

Although the Chabad community in which he was raised is relatively tolerant in its beliefs, he felt many of the edicts in his house — such as the ban on television and any music that wasn't religious — were too strict.....
At 18, he made a complete break from his community. He was rejected by his family, and soon he was floundering: ...
Strict laws govern how Orthodox males and females interact — touching is strictly forbidden, and social interaction is restricted — but this was another area in which Waks went his own way. "When I was 15 or 16, I picked up a girl in a club. I was partying a lot, and went to a lot of pubs and nightclubs, getting drunk a lot."

In Israel, Waks met a woman, they married, ...
She wasn't born Jewish, but converted — "even though at no stage did I tell her that that was a prerequisite.

It was a complete and utter choice on her part, irrespective of our relationship."

Although his family showed him the door at various times in his youth, they have since come around. "When I was young, they would say, 'Go find somewhere else to sleep,' and I'd have to go to a friend's place.

My parents acknowledged that perhaps wasn't the best way for them to deal with the situation. But I was the oldest male, and I had 15 younger brothers and sisters who looked up to me … I don't hold any grudges against my parents. They thought they were educating and raising me in the best way.".... and he's not the only one of his siblings to have turned his back on religion — half a dozen or so have done the same.


Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/leaving-the-fold-20080623-2vlh.html#ixzz2UTTypyVI

Nuff said?

Bobby Basrah –

You are such an ass.

Manny was first abused about the same time he freied out – not years later, as you falsely claim.

Past that, what the hell difference does it make when he freid out or that he did frei out?

In your tiny diseased little mind, does Manny being frei somehow justify or mitigate the abuse and the abuser?

You are sick disgusting man.

You know Shmarya, you have a terrible trait in hurling childish insults at anyone who posts something you don't like. You should stop it. It doesn't become you and proves to the world that you have serious issues and you are not a person who can be taken seriously.

But back to what you wrote, if you had read all that Manny has writtena nd claimed you will see that he was abused after his barmitzvah, around age 15.

And of course I am just as disgusted as you at ANYONE being abused, frum, frei, Jew or gentile at whatever age or stage in life.

PS: "tiny diseased little" ??
Such tautology passt nisht for such a renowned writer.

Please.

"Menachem ''Manny'' Waks and his 16 siblings grew up in an Orthodox Chabad family in St Kilda East. Mr Waks says he only told one friend about the alleged sexual abuse. But rumours soon circulated and boys started to snigger. Midway through year 7 he left mainstream school and focused purely on a religious studies program at Yeshivah College.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/jewish-community-leader-tells-of-sex-abuse-20110707-1h4t4.html#ixzz2UThxLhmi"

Last time I checked, asshole, kids in year 7 are 13 years old – sometimes 12 years old.

That would make you wrong, would it not?

And you can "passt nisht" that right up your ass.

"But I was the oldest male, and I had 15 younger brothers and sisters who looked up to me … I don't hold any grudges against my parents."

For that alone, he should hold a grudge against them. No wonder they threw him out so casually; they had fourteen backups.

Fucking morons.

Jeff, you know your nephew is in for a rude awakening shidduch time re: yichus.

Posted by: Yochanan Lavie | May 26, 2013 at 09:04 PM
_________________________________________

That's what I tried to tell him, and he poo-pooed it. According to him, Lubavitch doesn't have the obsession with "yichus" displayed by the other sects. He did concede that the old Lubavitch families known collectively as "gezhe" like to marry among themselves, but of course, he doesn't count that.

The thing is, he's a chameleon. He's so thoroughly convinced himself that he's FFB that he's convinced them as well. He's a bit like Zelig. He can also be manipulative, and has a talent for getting his way. You may remember my mentioning here that a little over a year ago, he married the daughter of the Madrid shliach (which I assume to be a position of some importance). I didn't go to the wedding and I haven't spoken to him since shortly afterward, but my nieces, his first cousins, told me he and his wife had a little girl about nine months later (quelle surprise!). One of my nieces told me they named the baby "Muschka". I had to explain the significance of the name, and told her to expect the next one about ten months later. If it's a boy, I'm sure it will be named "Menachem" or "Mendel", or both.

There are no words.

One of the reasons for a BT to have 17 children is to try to impress the other Lubavitchers with how dedicated and committed you are to the cause.

Morons and lunatics. They shouldn't be allowed to reproduce - and yes, that includes my nephew.

You know, as a student at Yeshivah, I notice that Mrs Rosen, a long standing administrator and teacher at Yeshivah, only seems to like and favour the pretty boys who are blond and fair skinned. She seems to discriminate against the darker skinned boys. I think she is disgusting.

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