Off the hook – party time in Adelaide!

September 3, 2010 by Henry Benjamin
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In June, 39 charges of fraud against Chabad Rabbi Yossi Engel and his wife Chana were dismissed in an Adelaide court…and last weekend was party time to celebrate the Adelaide Chabad leader’s vindication.

Rabbi Yossi and Rebbetzin Chana Engel

More than 130 guests joined the Engels at a function to mark the Engel’s vindication. Guests included Rabbi Pinchus Feldman and Rabbi Moshe Gutnick from Sydney and Melbourne Chabad leader Rabbi Tzvi Telsner.

Rabbi Feldman compared Rabbi Engel with the biblical Joseph who had been falsely accused after being sold into slavery in Egypt  by his brothers. Rabbi Feldman said that Joseph had remained positive and eventually became Viceroy of Egypt.

A special message was relayed from South Africa from Melbourne leader Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Groner. Rabbi Groner’s late father, Rabbi Yitzchok Groner had encouraged Rabbi Engel to accept the Chabad appointment in Adelaide in 1998.

Rabbi Engel thanked G-d  saying “for 3½ years our future seemed uncertain and for 3½ years You carried us. Thank you!”

The Adelaide prosecutors had alleged that the Engels had falsified accounts in order to gain grants to establish the Spirirt of David School. They alleged that the Engels had sought $50,000 in State grants based on pupils who did not exist.

When the Adelaide Magistrates’ Court dropped the charges after a three-minute hearing , Rabbi Engel said that he felt vindicated and that he would now serve the Adelaide Jewish Community.

At the party, Rabbi Engel acknowldged the work of his lawyer Ron Bellman, presenting him with a Kiddush cup and silver plate together with a set of Jewish books.

Bellman told the guests that a lawyer may wait “a lifetime” to see justice be done and that the Engels, who have six young children,  had finally received true justice. He congratulated those members of the community who had stood by the Engels “at great personal sacrifice. He said: “Let there be no misunderstanding…this Rabbi and Rebbetzin have real support in Adelaide.”

“However,” he concluded, “our true heroes are not the lawyers, but the Chabad couple, who work tirelessly, despite extraordinary challenging circumstances, for one reason: to bring warm, caring Yiddishkeit to this far-flung community. For this, we honor and congratulate them on their personal victory over extreme adversity.”

Entertainment was provided by chazan/musician Rabbi Yehoshua Niasoff from Sydney  and Melbourne chazan Rabbi Sholom-ber Engel.

One of the dinner guests said: “We’ve never seen so many black hats in Adelaide before”.

Rabbi Eli Feldman, Ron Bellman, Rabbi Yossi Engel, Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, Yehoshua Niassif and Rabbi Sholom-ber Engel


2 Responses to “Off the hook – party time in Adelaide!”
  1. Bored says:

    To Adelaide:
    Whilst you have a point, it is possible that Jwire got the details wrong. Besdies, is this all you have got to say? It irks you that the Chabad name was mentioned? The mud through which this couple was rolled through the past few years does not weigh down on you?
    The Shul board brought this matter to court (contrary to what Halacha dictates should be done in matters of dispute) and you are concerned that the Chabad name is being mentioned in vain?

  2. Adelaide says:

    What “Chabad appointment”, he applied to AHC and was AHC rabbi.

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