Friday, May 21, 2010

Suggestion to the Adelaide community: Hand over Shul to Rabbi Engel!

AJN Report:   $100,000 needed to save Adelaide congregation

ADELAIDE Hebrew Congregation (AHC) has launched a desperate appeal to raise $100,000, warning members that unless the money comes in, the congregation will not be operationally viable. In a letter sent to congregants last week, AHC president Mark Cohen said dwindling membership and the global financial crisis had contributed to the shortfall. He also claimed long-term loans to Massada College had not been repaid.

Cohen told The AJN: “The big issue was that no fundraising had been done for a long time, and the bank balance had been slipping into the red for a while. There are no patrons of significance in Adelaide anymore, and every cent raised is by generous personal support.”

Calling for aid from beyond Adelaide, he added: “Our shul board has raised over $5000 from its last board meeting, and we hope the appeal will bring in around another $20,000 from smaller donors in the community. It would be wonderful to have additional Australian support for another $75,000, so we can get out of the red and begin a program of rejuvenation, immigration and community building right away.”

To help raise funds, renowned local artist Franz Kempf has donated one of his paintings, titled Why Does the City Sit so Solitary?, to the community to sell. Asked what may happen if the funds aren’t forthcoming, Cohen said: “We will have to call a special AGM – and ask for permission to sell the rabbi’s house, but this is a time-consuming, less than optimal, solution.”

uval Yarom, president of Massada College, refused to comment on the school’s financial relations with AHC. However, he told The AJN he was confident that Massada wasn’t facing an immediate cash crisis. “We will need financial support from the community in the near future and I believe we will get it,” he said. “But we do have a business plan and we are on our way to being able to stand on our own.

Looks like they can't make a go of it. 
Solution?  Turn the Shul over to Rabbi Engel and transform it into Adelaide's Chabad House. Those Chabad rabbis are somehow always able to finance their Shuls and activities.


  1. Maybe it shows the cost that defending litigation is taking on our communities and the potential of Jewish Arbitation and Mediation Service as established recently in NSW.
    Wrong synagogue photo. That set of buildings has been a disco for decades. Not Engel's taste I think...but I can imagine a sign outside with two chosids dancing!

  2. Of course we realise that the Shuls depicted on the photo were not of the current building. We thought that a historic snap would be of greater interest to readers.

  3. By suggesting that the shul be handed over to Rabbi Engel you are missing the point entirely.
    The Chabad shuls/centres that do well are those where the Rabbi starts them from scratch. Rabbi Engel was a paid employee and would not have survived for very long if he had to raise his own money. As it was he demanded to keep shul property instead of being a mentch and leaving when the majority of his employers (ie the shul members) decided that he had outlived his stay.

  4. Actually Rabbi Engel has survived now for close to 4 years by raising his money, b"h, may all those who donate to him be blessed! About the 'outlived his stay' bit - the way they tried to kick him out went against his contract. Plain and simple.


Comments will be moderated for language and content.
Please use your name/nickname - rather than 'anonymous'.