Rabbi Milecki’s termination found to be legal

June 28, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Last year Rabbi Benzion Milecki’s termination by the liquidator of Sydney’s South Head Synagogue was found  to unlawful by a court hearing his claim…but the decision has been overturned by an appeal court this week.

Rabbi Benzion Milecki

The cash-strapped synagogue was placed in administration last year. The administrator immediately terminated the rabbi’s employment culminating in a sequence of events which prevented allowing Rabbi Milecki to attend the synagogue. Justice Brereton agreed with Rabbi Milecki’s claim that the termination was not lawful.In

But the judgement by Justice Brereton and the administrator has been found be acting within the law by terminating the rabbi’s contract by a unanimous  decision taken by three appeal judges.

In the original case is 2017 the expert evidence was that an aspect of Halacha (Orthodox Jewish law) is Hazakah, which provides that a Rabbi’s appointment is for life, and cannot be terminated except by agreement or pursuant to a decision of a Beth Din; and that the only grounds for removal would require a fundamental failure by the Rabbi to perform his Rabbinical duties.

The Rabbi claimed that Hazakah was a term of the contract, prohibiting the purported termination. The Justice Brereton  found that Hazakah was incorporated, or alternatively to be implied, as a term of the contract.

His findings have been overturned unanimously by three judges in the Court of Appeal in Sydney’s Supreme Court .

The appeal judges ruled that halacha could apply to congregation but not to the company. In Australia law, all employees are terminated when a company is placed into administration.

Rabbi Milecki has been ordered to pay the administrators costs.







3 Responses to “Rabbi Milecki’s termination found to be legal”
  1. Zac Spielman says:

    So delighted that this confrontation is over and that sanity has prevailed.

    Let us hope that Rabbi Milecki accepts the decision of the Appeal Court,receives monies owed to him according to NSW Labour Law and rides into the sunset to reflect on his achievements as well as his failures.

  2. Alan Cohen ( Toronto) says:

    I have been watching this story from the beginning and can only say that the decision by The Appeal Court is wonderful.
    Future generations of South Head Shul will not be burdened financially with an ongoing debt to probably the highest paid Rabbi worldwide.
    Communities will now have to ensure that contracts with Rabbonim are well constructed removing any room for ambiguity.

  3. Cecil Lipworth says:

    A victory for Australian contract law over an antiquated and onerous legal construction. Shul Boards must be delighted with such an outcome.No longer can Rabbonim enter into one sided contracts with their communities.

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