UPDATED: Rebbetzin Pnina Feldman apologised to child-sexual-abuse victim Manny Waks after pressure from rabbis in Melbourne.
Several rabbis in Melbourne were going to publicly call on Rebbetzin Feldman to apologise for her email that was described by Waks as “vile” and “bewildering”.
“I haven’t met a person yet with one nice word to say about you. Most people consider you a lowlife,” Rebbetzin Pnina Feldman said in an email to Waks on erev Yom Kippur.
She told Waks to “get over it”, said that he needs “counselling” and that his “blame-game”, as she calls it, is “unjust, unwarranted, undeserved and wicked”.
“There is something very ugly and personal about your anti Yeshiva campaign. Just because a security guard molested you don’t blame Yeshiva,” Rebbetzin Feldman said referring to David Cyprys, who was found guilty of abusing Waks at Yeshivah in Melbourne.
She refused to apologise when contacted by The AJN last week but pressure mounted and she issued an apology to The AJN, but not directly to Waks, on Monday.
“In my robust and emotional email I employed offensive language which I remorsefully regret and unreservedly apologise for,” she said.
“I also want to apologise for my perceived trivialization of the impact of child abuse on victims.”
In the apology, she explained why she sent the email.
“The intent of the email was that I agree with all efforts to prosecute pedophiles but take issue with some aspects of Manny’s crusade against Melbourne Yeshivah, one example being the trumped up and ludicrous accusations levelled against Rabbi Avrohom Glick, which Manny ultimately apologised for,” she said.
Waks described the initial email as one of the most “vile” and “bewildering” he had ever received.
“While nothing really surprises me, I was left speechless after this email,” he said.
“I’m truly shocked and horrified that Rebbetzin Feldman has deliberately chosen the eve of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and the most sacred day in the Jewish calendar, to launch an unprovoked, vile and offensive tirade against me.”
The full apology:
STATEMENT BY REBBETZIN PNINA FELDMAN
Recently I received an email directly from the Waks family requesting that I sign a petition against Yeshivah in Melbourne.
I did not read the email at the time and only opened it on Friday as I was going through my unread emails.
As it was the day before Yom Kippur, the day of atonement and a time of introspection, I personally decided to respond to the email by sending a private email to Manny Waks, which he has chosen to publicise.
The intent of the email was that I agree with all efforts to prosecute pedophiles but take issue with some aspects of Manny’s crusade against Melbourne Yeshivah, one example being the trumped up and ludicrous accusations levelled against Rabbi Avrohom Glick, which Manny ultimately apologised for.
In the email I also offered Manny some personal advice, being that Yeshiva in Sydney provided significant support and succor to him when he was a teenager and I do care for his wellbeing.
In my robust and emotional email I employed offensive language which I remorsefully regret and unreservedly apologize for.
I also want to apologize for any perceived trivialization of the impact of child abuse on victims.
Molestation is a devastating crime, violating the intimacy and innocence of the pure and defenseless. The victim is left feeling that there is something wrong with the world in which he or she lives. Perpetrators of molestation should be reported to the police and prosecuted appropriately. Any person, organization or entity that stands by silently is abetting in the crime and must do everything in its power to ensure that children are safe at all times.
May G-d bless all those who engage in the important and holy work of advancing child protection and safety, both physically and spiritually.