An open letter to Rabbi Milecki

July 21, 2017 by J-Wire
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Dear Rabbi Milecki

Over the past months you and your family have reminded the public repeatedly of your and your Rebbetzin’s self-sacrifice and good works for the South Head community during the 32 years of your employ by the Synagogue, and the hardships that this imposed on you and your family.

Gratitude from the community is not the issue.  Your and your Rebbetzin’s contribution have never been in question. It is acknowledged and appreciated. You were respected for your erudition, and your and the Rebbetzin’s amazing pastoral care to many in their time of need admired and valued.

Surely though devotion is part of a Rabbi’s job – indeed part of any job which one is paid to do. Which successful community Rabbi does not invest heart and soul in his community? If you or your family felt it was too much for you, and involved such hardship as has been claimed, why did you choose to stay in the job? You no doubt had your reasons, but it was your choice, and a choice you made freely.

Your past contribution has no bearing on what the community needs for its future. Personal indebtedness has nothing to do with communal good going forward.

Your extolling the virtues of your contribution and devotion diverts from the actual issue which is the future of the South Head Shul community. Therefore, it seems to me that the only conclusion to be drawn is that the future wellbeing of the community is not your concern.

This is why you were left with an empty shul these past two weeks, with the community choosing to daven elsewhere.

Furthermore, in all your collective talk about what you have done for the community, there has been not one iota of acknowledgement of the reciprocal good done for you by the community.

Here are just a few examples, aside from the friendship and affection extended to you and your family, of what the community has done for its Rav:

  • it helped him buy his house, which he has owned from quite early on in his tenure at the Shul;
  • it provided him with assistance in times of personal need;
  • it helped to pay for his children’s weddings not just those in Sydney which were after all community events, but those overseas as well;
  • in the past 9 years alone, the community has paid him a package estimated at $3.5 million. Given the tax benefits enjoyed by the clergy, this is the equivalent of a commercial package of $5.5 million.

These few things alone speak loudly and clearly of the tangible value placed on your service and the excellent treatment you have received from the South Head community.

Nor have you acknowledged any contribution from the Boards of Management (or any individuals) in supporting and working with you to build the Shul. On the contrary, you have denigrated all previous boards and blamed all the Shul’s current ills on them, while absolving yourself of any responsibility despite the very active role you played. While it is true that you did much to build the Shul, it is equally true that you did not do it alone.  And do not forget that the Board members you publicly denigrate, many of whom gave weeks, months, even years of their lives, served the Shul freely and selflessly for the good of the community without recompense. Your efforts, while substantial, were generously rewarded.

Rabbi Milecki, you are asking for recognition from others without yourself giving it where it is due.  And you are standing on your claim to tenure despite the will of and the existential threat to the community.

This too is why you were left with an empty shul.

The only issue is the continued survival of the 70-year old South Head & District Synagogue. The tzibur (community) is bigger than any individual – even its Rav.

Yours truly

Jodi Kofsky

 

Comments

5 Responses to “An open letter to Rabbi Milecki”
  1. Joe Weinstein says:

    “Tzibur” Is a term used by Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)

    When Observant Jews are in dispute, Halacha directs them to the Beth Din to help them resolve their disagreement & not go to the Nations of the world to resolve them nor air the “dirty washing” in public. How much more so when it is clearly Spelled out in a Writen & Explicit Contract. Should an “Observant” community (Tzibur) behave in such a way?

    Furthermore, צבר
    Can mean A Jewish Community or A prayer group (Minian)
    But it is explained that Tzibur is only a Tzibur when ALL three type of Jews are present:
    צ = A Tzadik (a Ritcheous/ Holly person)
    ב = A Benoni (an intermediate person …. our Goal to be…)
    ר = A Rosha (an Evil/ Wicked person)

    A Tzibur only becomes a Tzibur when all Three are present; and if only one (of the three) is missing; by definition it can no longer be a Tzibur.

    There was a person that decided to instruct the (non-Jewish) Security guard, on Shabbes, to (forcibly) prevent the Rabbi from entering the Shule (whilst knowing that the Rabbi, a Jew, needed a Minian/צבר; to be able to say Kaddish for his father). What kind of a person could have given such a directive at such a sensitive time?

    Was he the Tzadik? (Benoni?) and who was the Rosha, the person inside or the person “Locked-out?”
    As a result one ought to ask “Was there a Tzibur in the Shule on that
    What sort of a Legacy the Shule is left with?

    There are a lot of questions that beg to be answered….

    Or is one of the answers:
    “No it definitly is not *Baseless Hatred*
    we have very good reason to Hate him your Honor….”

    • Rafi Plotkin says:

      Joe,with reference to a Tzibbur, according to Rabbi Sacks

      “……..think of a group of people at the Kotel.They may not know each other.They may never meet again.But for the moment,they happen to be ten people in the same place at the same time,and thus constitute a quorum for prayer.A tzibbur isa community in the minimalist sense,a mere aggregate,formed by numbers rather than any sense of identity.A tzibbur is a group whose members may have nothing in common except that at a certain point in time they find themselves together ,and thus constitute a “public’for prayer or any other command which requires a minyan”

      ( extracted from a Chabad website)

      The use by Jodi of the word tzibbur does not detract from what is an articulate,succinct,logical and well written comment which everyone praises.

      Jodi KOL HAKAVOD for enlightening us with your erudite comment.

  2. Erica Edelman says:

    An entirely preventable (and lamentable ) situation.
    When the writing is on the wall it’s up to all stakeholders
    To play their role – even if their part is very uncomfortable.
    Selflessness is the key here.
    It’s clear from this letter the Shule is empty.
    A Shule can only function when the Congregation
    Fully supports the Rabbi
    Its very clear from this letter this is not happening.

  3. Angela-Leah Vered says:

    Well spoken Jodi. However this history does not absolve the recent action taken by community members to spend further Shule funds by taking the matter to court not the Beth Din

    • Joe Weinstein says:

      Yes indeed I agree with Angela-Leah.

      Your letter Jodi is very nice; it also confirms that there were many in the community including volenteers who spent many dedicated hours to the Shule which included the Rabbi.

      The Shule and the Board may indeed have been very generous to the Rabbi & his family, however, I’m sure this was done with transparency & without the Rabbi holding “a gun” to the Boards head.
      Indeed one can equally say:
      “You [the Board & President] had your reasons but it was your choice, and a choice you made freely”

      If the Rabbi did not show gratitude and appreciation for such generosity; indeed one can be critical of that, as you were.
      Was that the “Major Crime” that the Rabbi was/is guilty of or is he just “disliked” & (G-d forbid) hated.

      Let’s not forget that the Board, President willfully Appointed the Administrators with seemingly THE main reason in dismissing the Rabbi. Indeed the very next day the Administrator did “fire” the Rabbi as INTENDED. Furthermore, the Administrators (surely with the instructions of the President & Board) made an Application to the Supreme Court of NSW to VALIDATE what “Blind Freddie” could see as being immoral & illegal. In summary it was Jews (the Board) who took another Jew (their Rabbi) to a Goisher Court to Validate their actions. And surprise, surprise (or was it?) the Judgment/Order said that it was “Illegal”. Mr Justice Brereton made a landmark decision that establishes the supremacy of HALAHA in all the affairs of an Orthodox Synagogue, (the Synagogue [!] was ordered to pay the Rabbi’s Cost)
      “The rabbi’s contract includes hazakah,” wrote Justice Brereton. “The purported termination was therefore a wrongful dismissal.” So which part of that the Ex-President & the Ex-Board members did not understand. That they did not like it, that’s understood, but Davka they think that they are above the Law & SMARTER!

      Didn’t they read the Judgement; they pressed on to LIQUIDATE. It was not the Rabbi that called for the Administrator nor the DESTRUCTION of the Shule by Appointing the LIQUIDATOR. Is there something I’m missing?
      It’s the old dejavou *Baseless Hatred* that was the cause of the Destruction of Second Temple; which we as Observant Jews remember during these three weeks.

      To “Reverse & Correct” this; we are taught that we must practice Baseless LOVE.
      Sadly I did not see any of which in this sad & pathetic saga.

      The Secular Law backs up a Valid Contract! The contract, as I understand requires the “WARRING” Parties to resolve their issues via a Bet Din.
      Don’t you think that is exactly what should have been done?
      Even more so that the Supreme Court has directed to do that very thing.

      Have you read the Contract?

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