A Chabad-Lubavitch yeshiva student is found face down, sleeping in the street. He reeks of alcohol. A farbrengen (a hasidic gathering prominently featuring alcohol consumption) is in progress nearby. An ambulance is called. The boy has no visible injuries. He is coherent. The boy is brought back to the yeshiva. He leaves the ambulance under his own power, opens the locked door by punching the correct numbers on a key pad, and stumbles inside. The next morning is found stumbling about the yeshiva, incoherent. He has a black eye and a bloody nose. An hatzoloh ambulance is called. The boy is taken to a hospital and operated on for pressure on his brain. The yeshiva claims the boy was attacked by thugs. The boy remembers nothing. Police scoff at the yeshiva’s claims, noting three nearly empty bottles of scotch were found in the boy’s room, that he reeked of alcohol, that he did not claim to have been assaulted, that his injuries as observed by the EMTs were what one would expect from a fall caused by alcohol abuse. Yet the yeshiva and Chabad of Melbourne won’t leave well enough alone:
A furious Rabbi Alon Hazi, who runs the Israeli Chabad house where Zerach volunteered, said he had no doubt it was an assault.
He said Zerach’s bag had been found at Anzac Bridge and that the student was not an alcohol drinker. “We know 99 per cent he was hit by somebody. In fact it wasn’t by hand — he was hit by something stronger.”
Mendy Litzman, of Hatzolah Sydney, arrived at Yeshiva on Thursday lunchtime when the alarm was first raised.
“The first thing that entered our mind was an assault because he had a black eye and blood on his nose,” he said.
Paramedics treated it as a “serious assault”, he added.
Litzman said there was a fabrengen, a Lubavitch customary l’chaim where everybody has a drink, last Wednesday night, but Zerach did not attend.
Rabbi Sholom Feldman, also of the Yeshivah Centre, told the AJN he believed Zerach was injured by the time he entered the Orthodox centre.
“He’s lucky to be alive — it’s a miracle. If he didn’t stand up and wander around [on Thursday morning], he may have died.”
He also disputed allegations of alcoholism. “Which bochur wearing a [black] hat and jacket would walk into a bar? I think he was beaten to a pulp.”
As to the whisky bottles in his room, he said that police don’t understand the Chabad custom of saying a l’chaim at every special gathering, including Shabbat. “A bochur has alcohol from the many farbrengens,” he said.
“The empty ones that were found were consumed prior to that day. He did not drink from those bottles.”
Anyone who has participated in Chabad yeshiva farbrengens has seen passed out students, passed out rabbis, and passed out neighbors. Alcohol abuse is a chronic Chabad problem. But, just as with other haredim, Chabad covers up inconvenient facts. It’s bad for fundraising.
It’s time Chabad got a grip and stopped this insanity before one of these kids gets killed.
[Here’s an earlier example of this craziness.]