Since then, though, the health of the 90-year-old spiritual leader of Yeshiva Achei Tmimim has taken a turn for the worse.
Rabbi Fogelman is recovering at the Jewish Healthcare Center. I found him resting peacefully when I visited him last week. Rather than wake him, I left a note and my phone number.
I called his son, Rabbi Mendel Fogelman, at the Newton Avenue synagogue and school last week to discuss the IRS action.
“I have no comment,” he said.
I also contacted the IRS field office in Boston.
IRS media relations specialist Peggy Riley replied in an email: “We cannot comment on specific tax cases due to Section 6103, privacy and disclosure laws.”
The religious organization has struggled for years to pay its bills, and while the IRS is the largest creditor, it is by no means the only one.
According to an IRS document called “notice of encumbrances” that the agency filed to notify potential bidders of liens and other complications connected to the 22 Newton Ave. property, the city of Worcester is owed $8,523.78 in property taxes. I could find no record of those taxes with the city, which classifies Yeshiva as a tax-exempt religious organization.
Yeshiva owes the city $12,399 in water and sewer charges for Newton Avenue and 24 Creswell St., the rabbi's residence. A company called Acme Pre-Pak Corp. is owed $10,461. As recently as 2010, Yeshiva owed more than $31,400 to National Grid, and owes $25,000 on a 2001 mortgage with Commerce Bank & Trust on 22 Newton Ave.
The Bais Chana High School at 15 Midland St., still operating and run by Yeshiva, is owned by Robert Kirsch. The property is not tax-exempt, according to city tax records.
Last year, Yeshiva lost another property when Commerce Bank & Trust foreclosed on the former school dormitory building at 9 Midland St.
The property was purchased by Steve Gaval, a longtime member of Yeshiva Achei Tmimim, for $61,000.
I spoke to Mr. Gaval's wife, Michelle Gaval, at her Worcester home last week.
She said the couple is renovating the property, which was in terrible shape when they bought it.
“We bought it for ourselves,” she said, when I asked if, perhaps, the couple bought the property to allow Yeshiva to continue to use it. She said they intend to move into the home as soon as renovations are completed next year.
“We wanted someone in the community to keep it, rather than let someone else take it,” she said. “We just felt like, someone Jewish should own it.”