RABBI Benzion Milecki is prepared to leave his day-to-day duties at South Head Synagogue for a payout of less than $500,000 and an ongoing pension for the rest of his life, The AJN has learned.
The AJN can reveal that if Rabbi Milecki and the creditors of the shule meet for mediation, he will only request money owed to him, in the form of back-pay, long service leave, holiday leave and any other regular entitlements.
Instead of asking for a lump-sum payment, he will instead propose a pension for life, as he did in 2014 when he offered to become Rabbi Emeritus. The 2014 proposal included a pension of $100,000 per annum, however The AJN understands that during any mediation he would be willing to accept a reduced offer.
And as part of the proposal, the rabbi would still have a degree of control. He would need to be consulted on any policy pertaining to the mikvah, kashrut, mechitzah or “any other areas which can in any way be considered to be reforming the synagogue”.
Rabbi Milecki told The AJN this week that he is not going to turn his back on South Head. “To be asked to unconditionally leave the synagogue that the rebbetzin and I have played an integral role in building and devoted over three decades of our lives to, and which we, for better or worse, prioritised over our own family, was and remains totally unacceptable,” Rabbi Milecki said.
“We call upon the secured creditors, in whose hands the future of the synagogue lies, to join us in formal mediation as early as possible with the aim of achieving a fair and equitable outcome.”
Full story in this week’s AJN