Community leader avoids court appearance

October 5, 2012 Agencies
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The president of the Zionist Council of Victoria has avoided a court appearance following a bitter altercation inside a synagogue in Melbourne.

Sam Tatarka

Sam Tatarka was last month issued with a summons to appear in Melbourne’s Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday after a heated exchange with another congregant, Bruce Cooke, inside Ohel Devorah on September 1.
As a result Cooke applied for an intervention order.
But last Friday, Cooke withdrew his complaint. It is understood Tatarka expressed regret for his use of strong language, paving the way for a resolution.
The brouhaha related to the fallout from the child sex abuse scandal at Yeshivah College. Cooke has been critical of the way the management and board of Yeshivah College has handled the scandal and conducted themselves throughout the investigation.
The scandal has strained relations among many of Melbourne’s Orthodox community, with factions emerging in support of the former president of the Canberra Jewish community, Manny Waks, who has gone public with allegations he was one of the victims, and others who are critical of his crusade against the college. Waks called for Tatarka’s resignation on Thursday. Tatarka responded: “I will not dignify Manny Waks’ scurrilous campaign against me with a response.”
Philip Chester, the president of the Zionist Federation of Australia, said: “I’m absolutely confident that this was nothing more than a difference of opinion and probably a personality clash, but in no way questions his credentials as a communal leader or his judgment on the Yeshivah issue.”

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