Parents campaign against rabbi’s controversial school sacking
Parents at Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah Colleges say they have lost confidence in their school board following the controversial sacking of a popular rabbi.
Tension is growing at the Orthodox Jewish school, with almost 400 parents, students, alumni and community members signing a petition in protest over “massive staff changes” unveiled by principal Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler and the school board.
They are particularly upset about the recent sacking of Rabbi Pinchas Ash, a much-loved Yeshivah teacher who has worked for the organisation for 40 years.
Rabbi Ash has lodged an unfair dismissal claim in the Fair Work Commission.
“I would like to thank all the present students and past students, parents and friends for all the personal messages of goodwill that I have received,” he told The Age.
It is understood his dismissal relates to him accidentally missing breakfast and assembly duties.
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United Torah Judaism leader Yaakov Litzman
THE ongoing saga surrounding attempts to extradite Malka Leifer has impacted on the Israeli election, for one Australian oleh at least.
Howard, who asked that his surname be withheld, said he could no longer bring himself to vote for the United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party because its leader Yaakov Litzman has been accused of falsifying psychiatric assessments to help the former Adass Israel principal evade extradition.
Litzman is Israel’s Deputy Health Minister.
The handwritten note calling for Malka Leifer to be extradited.
Howard said he lived in Melbourne during the time that Leifer allegedly committed at least 74 acts of child sexual abuse. Attempts to extradite her have foundered amid claims she is unfit to stand to stand trial.
Referring to the party by its Hebrew shorthand, Gimmel, Howard told The AJN: “I voted for Gimmel in the 2013 and 2015 Knesset Elections. I decided not to vote for Gimmel this time as a result of the alleged conduct of Deputy Health Minister Litzman in falsifying Malka Leifer being mentally ill in order to prevent her to face the justice system of the State of Victoria.”
Instead, Howard cast what is called an informal ballot on which he penned a note, “Extradite Malka Leifer to Australia.”
Meanwhile, Israel’s ultra-Orthodox parties are desperate to avoid a Blue and White-led government, fearing that it would mean conscription for yeshivah students.
They engaged in frantic last-minute campaigning, with one party even holding a huge election rally, despite normally rejecting such events as unbefitting religious leaders.
There, one of the party’s leaders, Moshe Gafni, predicted doom if his party didn’t come out of the vote strong, telling the crowd of thousands that they are “in the middle of a war over Shabbat” and “a war for yeshivah students”, meaning to avoid their conscription.
Now, the ultra-Orthodox parties look poised to hold on to their 13 Knesset seats – but only after the fight of a lifetime.
They struggled hard to avoid losing votes to right-wing parties. The unprecedented election rally brought together rabbis from rival camps who don’t normally talk. The event for the UTJ party, in Jerusalem, united people from Chassidic and non-Chassidic communities.
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