End of an era for Flood Street

Rabbi Pinchus Feldman.

FORTY-NINE years ago Rabbi Pinchus Feldman became the spiritual leader of the Yeshiva Centre in Flood Street, Bondi.

But after an intense battle with Harry Triguboff, whose company Meriton owns the property, Rabbi Feldman will leave the premises in any official capacity for the final time in less than two weeks.

Last month, Meriton sent a letter to Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, Rabbi Eli Feldman, Rabbi Yosef (Yossi) Feldman, Rabbi Sholom Feldman and Rabbi Elimelech Levy stating that their rental agreement for offices and the shul within Yeshiva would end on April 20.

In the same letter, an offer for Rabbi Pinchus Feldman to be the spiritual leader of the Yeshiva Synagogue was withdrawn.

Rabbi Feldman fought the eviction and won an initial reprieve, but it was short-lived.

The rabbi told The AJN last week that he would not be fighting the eviction notice and that he, and the other organisations attached to the eviction notices, would vacate the property for now.

While Rabbi Pinchus Feldman will remain the spiritual leader of the Yeshiva Centre, the centre does not have a home. The Yeshiva shul will also cease to operate in its current form on April 20.

During Rabbi Feldman’s time at Yeshiva he helped establish the Yeshiva College, Yeshiva Gedola Rabbinical College, Chabad Youth NSW, the Yeshiva Welfare Fund, Our Big Kitchen, Young Adult Chabad, Women of Valour, the Yeshiva Synagogue and Yeshiva counselling services.

As the top Chabad emissary in Australia, Rabbi Feldman has also overseen the establishment of several Chabad houses across Sydney.

His contributions have been noted by many high-profile leaders in the community, including Kevin Rudd, when he visited the centre as prime minister in 2008.

At the time, Rudd said that Rabbi Feldman’s “leadership and dedication for more than 40 years in Sydney have had a profound impact not just on the Jewish community but indeed on the wider Australian community” and that Yeshiva makes a wonderful contribution to Australia.

“It reflects core values of Australia and beliefs that we share; a strong commitment to faith, family and community, a belief in the value of education and opportunity for everyone, and a willingness to extend special care and compassion to those who need it most,” Rudd said.

Young Adult Chabad, led by Rabbi Eli Feldman, posted on Facebook that it has already started leaving Flood Street.

“A very big thank-you to all of the volunteers who came today to help us move Young Adult Chabad’s items to storage,” Rabbi Eli Feldman posted on Sunday.

“We are very excited about our new venue and once we have it confirmed we will announce it! Onwards and upwards.”

As a result of the evictions, Our Big Kitchen and Yeshiva College Bondi will be the only entities remaining at the Flood Street property.

The AJN understands that the entire property will be handed over to Rabbi Dovid Slavin, who founded Our Big Kitchen and has been on the board of the school since 2012.

Under the restructure, a shul will continue to operate at Flood Street.

Full coverage in this week’s AJN.

JOSHUA LEVI