Rabbi in Australia suspected of fraud


A U.S.-born rabbi is under investigation for fraud in Australia.

Yossi Engel, a Chabad rabbi who was dismissed last year by the board of the only Orthodox synagogue in Adelaide, a community in Southern Australia with about a thousand Jews, allegedly received tens of thousands of dollars in government funding for a Hebrew school that did not exist.

The Australian Jewish News published what allegedly was a student report card signed by Engel for the Spirit of David Adelaide Hebrew School, but the boy’s mother said she had no knowledge of the school, let alone her son’s attending it.

Engel attorney Ron Bellman reportedly tried to dissuade the newspaper from publishing the report. Engel claims he was wrongfully dismissed by the Adelaide Hebrew Congregation, but a judge threw out his case in March and an appeal of that decision was turned down.

The two parties have agreed to have their grievances heard before the London Beth Din, but the judges of the Jewish court have yet to say whether they will hear the case.

Chabad in the United States already had severed its ties from Engel, according to a Lubavitch source.

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