PROPERTY developer Harry Triguboff has stepped in to save Yeshiva (Sydney) from collapse by purchasing its two properties on Flood Street, Bondi, for $6 million.
Triguboff will then lease the properties back to Yeshiva, Yeshiva College and other Chabad institutions for a peppercorn rent.
The deal means that Yeshiva will clear more than $10 million worth of debt in the space of a month. Last week, the institution sold apartments on Bondi Road for $2.37 million, and it is also set to sell a property on Old South Head Road for more than $3 million.
In a further development, financial management of the school will be handed over to Our Big Kitchen’s Rabbi Dovid Slavin.
“I decided to buy the two buildings because we can’t let Yeshiva fall apart and I have full confidence that they will succeed,” Triguboff told The AJN this week.
Reflecting on the need to ensure the community continues to educate and train future generations of rabbis, he added, “I can teach kids in Moriah or Masada, but that is just superficial.
“We need proper rabbinical traditions and that can only be done by Yeshiva College.”
As well as the college, the deal will also allow Yeshiva Synagogue, Chabad Youth NSW and other Yeshiva organisations to continue operating within the Flood Street properties.
Urging other members of the community to dig deep for Yeshiva, Triguboff said, “We should keep promoting Yeshiva and Judaism. I hope others will come and support them too because it’s always easy to find problems but we should appreciate when there is a success.”
Discussing Rabbi Slavin’s new role, Triguboff paid tribute to Yeshiva’s spiritual leader Rabbi Pinchus Feldman – who will continue in that role – but he said nonetheless it was time for a change in management.
“Rabbi Feldman is a great man with vision and he deserves our respect, but I think he has enough problems at the moment and I think Yeshiva will be more acceptable with Rabbi Slavin,” Triguboff explained.
“This is an opportunity to establish the college on a solid financial footing,” Rabbi Slavin said. “The handover means that there is going to be a delineation between the spiritual running of the school – which will continue to be Rabbi Feldman’s responsibility because he inspires the ethos of the school – and the financial side of the school.
“With Harry’s involvement we are retiring a lot of debt, which has put financial pressure on the school, and so it will make it a lot easier to pay teachers in a timely and regular manner.”
Yeshiva spokesperson Rabbi Eli Feldman said the entire Chabad community is extremely grateful and excited about Triguboff’s assistance.
“Due to the global financial crisis, donations dipped and Yeshiva found it increasingly difficult to both service large mortgages and pay ongoing operating expenses,” Rabbi Feldman said. “This transaction will undoubtedly increase community confidence in the long-term stability of Yeshiva, bringing much-awaited certainty to parents, teachers and the extended Chabad community.”
Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, Harry Triguboff and Rabbi Dovid Slavin with Yeshiva students (Picture: Ingrid Shakenovsky)