AFTER more than 30 years leading the Adass community in Melbourne Rabbi Avrohom Zvi Beck will leave on Monday night.
“The community is shocked to see our Chief Rabbi leave,” Adass president Benjamin Koppel told The AJN.
“He has been like a father to the community, has been a part of all of our simchas, has been a mentor for people and has been a source of advice for a very long time and people are still coming to terms with the announcement.”
Rabbi Beck told the community that he hasn’t been well for the last year, and that after seeing doctors he has been advised that if he wants to move to Israel that now is the time to do so.
Koppel said Rabbi Beck’s departure is a sad occasion.
“I’ve been very close to him because I’ve been the president for 26 years and I’ve worked with him on a daily basis.
“We won’t be able to replace him with someone of the same calibre.”
Rabbi Beck was born in Hungary and survived the Holocaust.
After the war, he moved to Israel and then to South America.
Koppel reminisced about Rabbi Beck’s first speech at Adass in Melbourne, when he told those in attendance that he would speak little, but act a lot.
“He has done exactly that,” Koppel said.
Rabbi Beck’s tenure at Adass has been marred by the allegations of child sexual abuse against former Adass Israel School principal Malka Leifer.
While there hasn’t been any suggestion that Rabbi Beck knew about the alleged abuse, many in the wider Jewish community said that as the Chief Rabbi of the community he should have been more vocal in helping to bring her to justice.
The Adass board will have a formal farewell, and the community is expected to come together this Shabbat.
They have not started the process to replace Rabbi Beck, but that is expected to occur soon after he leaves Australia next week.