Email from my tenant/friend*:
I was pulling into "our" driveway this morning [Saturday 3 October] when one of the security guards at the [REDACTED] motioned for me to roll down my window. He was standing in front of the SOLD sign near the mailboxes. [REDACTED]
He asked me if the house was sold, to which I replied, "not yet." He then told me that there had been an offer on the house that had been revoked because the potential buyer "wanted a two car garage." He then proceeded to point out that "anyone can see that there is not a 2 car garage" nor the place for a 2 car garage. He said that the owner was "a very bad man and that G-d was now punishing him."
He told me I was lucky because I wouldn't have to move anytime soon as the house was going to be difficult to sell.
I found his attitude surprising and disappointing. Funny the things people will say without having any idea to whom they are talking....
Upsetting to have to share this story.
*My friend shared with me what had happened minutes after the incident. I asked her to send it to me by email (as per above), which she did a few hours later.
Email I sent the rabbi of this institution:
I would like to bring to your attention a disturbing incident that transpired yesterday. Please read the email below [above] from my close friend who also happens to be my tenant. I have removed her name and contact details as I would like to protect her as much as possible. In that context, regardless of how we proceed from here, I would like to ensure that my friend/tenant is not impacted in any way, shape or form (including not being approached regarding this matter) - please note that this has not been a pre-condition for her sharing this incident with me but simply my desire to protect my friend and tenant.
Apparently the person referred to in this incident is Mr [REDACTED] - a person who seems to hold a prominent ongoing position within [REDACTED]. I feel that as the incident occurred just outside your institution, and due to Mr [REDACTED] official role there (including being on duty at the time of the incident), it is appropriate for you to address this matter.
Besides from the offensive comments expressed by Mr [REDACTED], I'm particularly concerned that he is aware of an offer that was retracted. This is indeed the case (albeit for a slightly different - but still bizarre - reason). We were in final stages of settlement when bizarrely, last minute, we were informed the prospective buyers were withdrawing their verbal offer as apparently they had believed the parking spot in front of our garage was a part of the title (when in fact it's common property). This was perceived by the agents (and others I've spoken to) purely as an excuse to withdraw from the sale (rather than it being on a matter of substance). The fact that Mr [REDACTED] was aware of this withdrawn offer seems to indicate that there may indeed be some broader involvement to try to make selling our property a challenge.
I call on you to urgently and appropriately deal with this matter. It's clear that the ongoing intimidation and harassment towards me and my family has not ceased. I view it as part of the broader ongoing campaign against me and my family stemming from past actions and inactions at the Yeshivah Centre, which I have been attempting to address over the past few years. I have therefore taken the liberty to Cc two members of the Yeshivah Centre Committee of Management.
Just to emphasise, this attitude still exists after all the revelations at the Royal Commission. After Yeshivah acknowledged the abuse, the cover-ups and intimidation that was directed at me and my family. After my attempt to move forward positively and constructively with the Yeshivah leadership and so many others (including with you as a member of the [REDACTED]). After all that we've been through - both personally and as a community.
And it happened on Shabbat and during the joyous festival of Sukkot - and only days after the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, the Day of Repentance.
I am deeply offended, hurt and impacted by this incident. Please advise if you plan to address this matter and if so, how.
PS While somewhat irrelevant, we haven't really advertised our house for sale. We put it on the market because there was interest after our next door neighbour, in the adjoining townhouse, sold their property. There were several under-bidders who were interested in our property. Recently we decided to sell the property and intend to list it properly in the coming weeks.
Email response from the rabbi:
It's very disturbing to me if [REDACTED] said those things - those words are absolutely outrageous
I will address it with him over the next few days - over the Chag /Simchat Torah and get back to you on Wednesday with an update
In the meantime I'm very Sorry that this transpired
1. Despite the ongoing revelations and developments, especially as a result of the Royal Commission, it is important to highlight that the intimidation and harassment is still happening today.
2. Because no matter how much I've been through, being on the receiving end of such offensive comments (especially when it's part of a broader campaign) still hurts very much.
At this stage I have chosen to redact the names (and other revealing details) of the individual and institution involved. I intend to publicly share the outcome of this incident in due course - hopefully I will be in a position to simply write that the rabbi and this institution responded promptly and appropriately.
Sadly I have come to accept that this intimidation and harassment will probably never cease - whether publicly or privately. But I remain determined to respond to this ongoing injustice, especially when it is ostensibly being done in the name of my religion.
UPDATE: I have now received a retraction and an apology.