A BETH din has ordered Rabbi Pinchus Feldman and his son Rabbi Yossi Feldman to pay more than $1.6 million to another rabbi who claims he is on the verge of bankruptcy.
Rabbi Shabsi Tayar allegedly loaned more than $1 million to the Feldmans while he worked at the Yeshiva Centre and associated entities in Sydney for more than 11 years.
When the money wasn’t repaid and Yeshiva was months behind in salary payments, Rabbi Tayar was forced to move to Melbourne, where he initially lived with his wife’s parents because he couldn’t afford to pay rent.
After summoning the Feldmans to a beth din, the presiding three rabbis were agreed upon by both parties. Earlier this month, those rabbis ruled that the Feldmans had to pay Rabbi Tayar more than $1.6 million.
To date, Rabbi Tayar has been paid two instalments totalling less than $500 since the decision was handed down.
Rabbi Tayar confirmed the details of the case to The AJN, saying he is on the brink of bankruptcy.
However, he didn’t want to discuss the case further.
Rabbi Pinchus Feldman and Rabbi Yossi Feldman said in a joint statement to The AJN that they attended the beth din “due to the complexity of the transactions and the difficulty in working out obligations and entitlements” to Rabbi Tayar.
“We are very pleased with the beth din’s ruling in the main issues. However, we have appealed some of the smaller issues and the beth din has agreed to a review. We await the final outcome of their review.
“We are absolutely committed to all of our halachic and legal obligations and are working diligently to be able to fulfil our financial obligations in the most timely manner, with any and all of our creditors.”
The AJN understands that even if Rabbi Pinchus Feldman and Rabbi Yossi Feldman win their review, the beth din will still award around $1 million to Rabbi Tayar.
President of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia Rabbi Moshe Gutnick declined to comment as he is related to the Feldmans. However, past president Rabbi Dovid Freilich urged the father and son to make payments as soon as possible. “It is incumbent upon rabbis to obey the decisions of the beth din otherwise they have no right to encourage others, as rabbis, to go to beth din arbitrations,” Rabbi Freilich said.