Published On: Sun, Feb 1st, 2015

Royal Commission in Melbourne Investigates Sex Abuse Allegations in Jewish Community

Manny Waks,   the head of Tzedek,   AUSTRALIA- Manny Waks,   the head of Tzedek,   an Australian advocacy group for Jewish victims of sexual abuse,   in front of Melbourne's Yeshivah College,   which has been rife with allegations of abuse. (News Corp. courtesy of Manny Waks)


A Royal Commission in Melbourne will investigate sexual abuse charges in the Jewish community that have been the focus of a conspiracy of silence for many years, as reported by AU News. The alleged abuse took place at the Yeshivah Center, where Manny Waks says he was a victim of David Cyprus. The family moved to press charges years ago, Cyprus ended up in prison, but the result was that Waks’ parents were put in cherem, or became official pariahs in the community, emigrated to Israel and still have been unable to sell their home. Manny Waks grew up in an Orthodox family with 16 siblings, and his family have paid a high price for their support of his pressing charges for the abuse he suffered. Waks told AUNews, “Those who were involved in facilitating the abuse, cover up, intimidation, they’ve gotten away scot free until now.”

In addition to considering the allegation against Cyprus, the commission will also look into those against David Kramer, who has been deported, substitute teacher Aron Kestecher, who took his own life and Daniel Hayman, former director of the Bondi chapter of Yeshiva College.  Josh Borenstein, who is President of Tzedek, an advocacy group for victims of child abuse, said “Within parts of the Orthodox Jewish community, there seems to be an enormous pressure and intimidation placed on people who do try to speak up. That’s got to stop. I hope that the royal commission focuses very carefully on those issues and if it finds there are systematic problems in the Jewish community, those problems are addressed and recommendations made.”

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