Charges against Adelaide Rabbi and Rebbetzin dropped

June 22, 2010 by Henry Benjamin
Read on for article

Thirty nine charges of dishonestly dealing with documents laid against a rabbi and his wife  were dismissed in Adelaide Magistrates Court today after police failed to tender evidence.

Ron Bellman, defence lawyer for Rabbi Yossi Engel and Rebbetzin Chana Engel said: ” When called upon by the Court, the South Australian Police, who prosecuted the cases, did not lead any evidence against either the Rabbi or his wife.”  They had been accused of creating false records to obtain $50,000 funding for a Jewish school.

Bellman maintained that at all times, Rabbi and Mrs Engel had vigorously maintained their innocence and remained committed to defending the charges.

Happy days return for Rabbi Yossi Engel (2nd left)

Outside the Court, Rabbi Engel and his wife thanked God, their lawyers, family, friends and congregants for their unwavering support throughout this very trying time.

Mrs Engel said she and her husband were most appreciative of the outstanding work done by their legal representatives which had culminated in today’s outcome.

Rabbi Engel praised the police for having recognized that the charges against him and his wife were without basis and for bringing this matter to finality in manner they did.

Rabbi Engel is the Director and Spiritual leader of Adelaide Chabad and the Adelaide Judaic Learning Centre.

Bellman told J-Wire:  “The Engels will stay in Adelaide. They have a small regular congregation of around 30-40 sometimes getting as many as 60.” However, Rabbi Engel was quick to point out that on special occasions such as Chanukah and recently on Lag Baomer, that figure swells to between 150 and 200.

Chana Engel

Outside court, Rabbi Engel told media that he was grateful to God and that he would now get on his with work of serving his community.

He told J-Wire his future lies with the Adelaide community. Rabbi Engel said: “I feel both relieved and wonderful to know that Chana and I have been fully vindicated. Now it’s back to the work in hand in caring for the spiritual needs of  the 200 members of this community with whom I experience warmth and acceptance.” J-Wire asked Rabbi Engel how today’s court action would impact on the wider Adelaide Jewish community. He said: “I support Masada College and recently helped secure a $25,000 donation to the school. My children attended the school and as the younger ones grow up…they will, too.”

He said that his work in Adelaide is very satisfying and cited a current case on which he is engaged.  “We are working with a devoutly Christian woman whose maternal grandmother was a Jewish Holocaust survivor. This woman is reconnecting to her Jewish roots and I am here to help her accomplish that.”

The vindicated Rabbi and Rebbetzin have made it clear that Adelaide is their home and they will stay on to “help foster and maintain Yiddishkeit” in South Australia.


6 Responses to “Charges against Adelaide Rabbi and Rebbetzin dropped”
  1. Andrew W says:

    Dear Rebbe Engel,
    I am glad this ended well for you. Thank you for being so kind and welcoming to me when I attended Adelaide Hebrew Congregation..

    Kindest Regards Andrew W

  2. John Smith says:

    Above is the link from the OFFICIAL Chabad website, to the Engel’s Chabad House. Clearly, his appointment as the Chabad representative to the state of South Australia was not a “self-appointment” as you say, and is obviously recognized by Chabad in Australia, and the central Chabad office in New York, hence his Chabad center is listed on the official list of Chabad representatives.

  3. Chabadnik says:

    His self-appointment is not recognised by Chabad in Australia or the local Jewish community

  4. Adelaide says:

    Nice photo of the Adelaide’s version of the dancing Moshiach Men.
    1. It is Jewish custom to thank the donor of tzedakah rather than others, so (as publicly announced in the college’s email newsletter) thankyou to Edward Roberts, NSW attorney and his wife Erica for a $25,000 donation to Massada College. This is equivalent to tuition fees for 4 children for one year.
    2. The Lag B’Omer community function is arranged annually by Massada College. About 60-80 people attended. The Engels attend as parents.

    • John Smith says:

      In response to point #2, yes, while it is true that Massada College would organize a yearly event, the Engel’s also organized a yearly event. In their first 8 or so years in Adelaide (while they were employed by AHC – Adelaide Hebrew Congregation), the event was organized by the Engel’s in conjunction with the Shul (synagogue). Since they opened their own Chabad House (independent of AHC) they have continued to organize a yearly event, often held in their backyard or in a park which would annually bring together many people.

  5. Yankel says:

    Mazaltov Rabbi Yossi & Rebbetzin Chani Engel!

    You have been through so much media harrassment, Baruch Hashem you have finally been vindicated!

    May Hashem bless you to go from strength to strength in all of your holy endeavours! 🙂

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.