Friday, March 29, 2013

Case of the Sex Offenders at Carmel College

Case of the Sex Offenders at Carmel College

Oxfordshire, England

Several alleged victims, who studied at the co-educational school in Oxfordshire, have claimed that at least two tutors sexually abused students between the 1970s and 1990s.  The school closed in 1997 due to lack of funding. Carmel College was the only Jewish boarding school in Europe.


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Table of Contents:   


  1. Legendary Rabbi Kopul Rosen 1913-1962


  1. Police investigate allegations of sexual abuse at Carmel College (03/28/2013)

  1. You'll never forget how to put on tefillin (02/14/2014)
  2. Sex abuse arrest at Jewish school (02/27/2014)

Legendary Rabbi Kopul Rosen 1913-1962
Algemeiner - February 24, 2012

Rabbi Kopul Rosen (1958)
On March 1st several hundred pupils of Kopul Rosen will gather at his graveside on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem to remember him on the 50th anniversary of his death. He was the most charismatic person I have ever encountered; a learned, fervently Orthodox, open-minded rabbi, intellectual, musician, sportsman, artist, wit, and orator. He was well over six feet tall, darkly handsome and engaging with a warm attractive smile, arresting dark eyes, and an imperial beard. On the other hand, he did not suffer fools gladly. His anger was fierce and his moods frightening. He dominated my life, and I desperately wanted his attention and love.
He was born in London in 1913 to a modest family of Eastern European immigrants from Radomsk. After his primary school education in Notting Hill, the family could not afford secondary education, and he went to study at Etz Chaim Yeshivah in the East End. His extracurricular activities included a passionate involvement in the Zionist movement, teaching Cheder, guest preaching (even then he was in great demand), and furthering his own broad intellectual, literary, and musical education.
He was encouraged to go to study at the great Lithuanian Yeshivah of Mir. Mir had a profound impact on him, both in learning and in the person of Rav Yerucham Levovitz, the greatest Mussar preacher of the generation, who inspired him to become a rabbi. Kopul returned just before the outbreak of the Second World War. He acquired another mentor, Rav Dessler, and was soon appointed the first rabbi of the Higher Crumpsall Congregation in Manchester in 1939.
He immediately became a sensation. He combined his strong Eastern European religious scholarship, with powerful spirituality, and a fluency and passion that had simply not been encountered previously in Anglo-Jewry. His rise was meteoric. Within two years in 1944 he was invited to become the Communal Rabbi of Glasgow.
In 1946 he was invited to become the Principal Rabbi of the Federation of Synagogues in London. His impact on London Jewry too was powerful and immediate. When Chief Rabbi Hertz died, Kopul, although only 33 years old, was regarded as the most exciting prospect to succeed him. But the conflicts of the Hertz era led the United Synagogue leadership to opt for a safe pair of hands instead of a charismatic mercurial individualist, so they appointed Israel Brodie instead.
By 1948, Kopul had grown disillusioned with the rabbinate in general and the Federation in particular. As the President of the Religious Zionist movement, Mizrahi, he was also feeling uncomfortable at the entry of religion into politics in the new State of Israel. He was increasingly alienated from communal affairs. He had always felt that education held the key to Jewish survival and Anglo Jewry was not noted as a community of scholars or its Jewish academic institutions.
His dream was to build the equivalent of the English public school combined with the intensity and learning of a traditional yeshivah. He founded Carmel College at first at Greenham Common outside Newbury and later at Mongewell Park. In 1949, he resigned his communal positions and moved with his family into the school.
From the start, he encountered opposition. The community at large at that time was convinced that a Jewish school amounted to segregation and would inhibit successful integration into English society. As for the small but growing ultra-Orthodox community, they thought that Kopul’s wider cultural and intellectual aspirations were too unorthodox for them. The lack of funding was a constant strain on Kopul and his ever-supportive wife Bella (who once pawned her engagement ring to provide breakfast for the pupils). But slowly the school grew and gained a serious academic reputation. Its success during the late fifties slowly began to attract support. Carmel grew and became one of the premier schools of the Jewish world.
Kopul was perceived by many as an Achilles withdrawing from communal life to his tent in the countryside. He held the Jewish establishment in scant regard. His lessons and talks often betrayed his impatience with the ignorance and lack of religious conviction that characterized postwar Anglo-Jewry. He had no patience for the growing fundamentalism and narrow-mindedness to which he believed the Orthodox community had fallen prey. He enjoyed sharing his criticisms with his pupils, who he hoped would usher in a new era of enlightened Jewish stewardship. Nevertheless, he was always in demand as a public speaker throughout the Jewish world, raising funds for Israel and Jewish education. His legacy is still remembered particularly in Australia and South Africa.
He threw himself into his school and into close relationships with many pupils. Some found the force of his personality too intense. But his own enthusiasms and example reflected his ideal of a tolerant universal Jewish education. He himself played sport, cricket and soccer, but swimming was his first love. He delighted in Carmel’s success in rowing and dreamed of his pupils going to Oxbridge as athletes whose religious commitment would cause the annual boat race to be postponed. He encouraged music, art, intellectual enquiry, while at the same time trying his best to get his pupils to live and master the Jewish tradition. His made all the religious occasions at Carmel unforgettable. His mellow singing voice and religious enthusiasm suffused them with authenticity and spirituality.
For various reasons, Carmel never lived up to his original ideal. Too few of its pupils cared for an intense religious way of life and the quality of the Jewish education never matched the secular. But nevertheless it did have a powerful influence on many who remember his example and personality with great affection and gratitude.
Kopul was seriously injured in a boating accident 1959, just as he started to negotiate the next dream on his list, the establishment of a school in Israel. He was hospitalized and invalided for almost a year. At the same time the impending retirement of Chief Rabbi Brodie was seen by many to be an opportunity to give Kopul the position he had been denied 13 years earlier. He was not enthusiastic and told his inner circle that he had no wish to leave his beloved school for the straightjacket of communal politics. He never recovered from his accident and died in March 1962, at the age of 49. They don’t make ‘em that way anymore. His memory sustains me and has always been a blessing.

Police investigate allegations of sexual abuse at Carmel College
By Zoe Winograd
Jewish Chronicle - March 28 2013

Thames Valley police have confirmed that they are conducting an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse at Carmel College, the now closed Jewish public school.

Former Carmel students have claimed that they were sexually abused while they were at the school.

Several alleged victims, who studied at the co-educational school in Oxfordshire, have claimed that at least two tutors sexually abused students between the 1970s and 1990s.

A spokeswoman for the police said: “We are a long way from bringing charges— there are many people to speak to.”

Carmel College, which was latterly co-educational, was founded by Rabbi Dr Yaakov Kopul Rosen in 1948 as a Jewish public school. It closed in 1997 due to lack of funding.


Carmel College
March 28, 2013

Carmel College was founded by Rabbi Dr Kopul Rosen in 1948 and closed in 1997. Approximately 4,000 students attended the school for some period of time, nearly a third of them from all over the world. The four headmasters, Kopul Rosen, David Stamler, Jeremy Rosen and Philip Skelker together with their senior teachers and staff all played their parts in the story of Carmel College.

This site exists to keep former pupils and staff in touch and also is enabled to download photographs. If any one has photographs from any era we should be delighted to post them here.

More importantly it can serve as a business resource to help all the members of the Carmel experience by fostering contacts. Please add your name and details to the Business Service page.

The ideals and values of the founder Rabbi Dr Kopul Rosen are being perpetuated today by the YAKAR EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION, which is centred in Jerusalem and can be reached at its web site or its UK branch

This site has been the result of support and encouragement from Old Carmelis of different times Joe Dwek, Leo Scheiner, Jeremy Coller, Gary Phillips and Olivier Hess.

This site is maintained by JBL associates and financed by YAKAR UK with technical support from

Donations to
28 Johns Avenue London NW4 4EN
Registered Charity Number 277818.


You'll never forget how to put on tefillin 
By David Robson
Jewish Chronicle - February 14, 2014

When it comes to religious practice I can’t make any great claims for myself, but a couple of weeks ago I actually did some religious practice – I practised putting on tefillin. It was around midnight, I was in my pyjamas and about to get into bed when I suddenly felt this was something I absolutely must do. The following morning I was going to shul to say kaddish and, it being Sunday, tefillin were part of the dress code. And, between you and me, I didn’t know if I’d be up to it.

I went to a Jewish boarding school – Carmel College, now defunct – I laid tefillin every weekday morning for five-and-a-half years. That’s roughly 1,000 times. But, I’m pretty sure, I hadn’t done it since.

And who’s to know how much you remember of what you did at school? You do French for ten years and ten years later you can just about manage to order an omelette; you study Latin for yonks then thank your lucky stars you’ll never be called upon to use it. So how would tefillin fare?

With some trepidation I went to the cupboard where the religious paraphernalia is kept – multiple kippot, some bought, some stolen, some souvenirs of weddings and barmitzvahs, plus my Leeds United yarmulke (and at the moment they need all the prayers they can get); my tallit in the velvet bag my grandma embroidered for my father; and there, tucked in at the back, a tired-looking blue bag containing my tefillin.

And, what’s this? Another one bearing the initials of my late Great-Uncle David – who would have thought it? Mine may not have been used for 50 years; I doubt if his had seen service since before the Boer War. Forgotten phylacteries! I suppose I could feel ashamed but in truth I was relieved just to find them. Though there will be some readers to whom a day without tefillin is unthinkable, it is also true that millions of tefillin have lain forever idle. Tefillin are the exercise bikes of Jewish life. You’re supposed to use them every morning but you never do.

I examined the two pairs and chose Uncle David’s. Would I even remember what went where? I certainly didn’t want the humiliation of someone having to take pity on me next morning and helping me out – “seven times round the arm, the letter shin on the hand – let me show you.” Happily, when I rolled up my pyjama sleeve, it all came flooding back as if I’d done it yesterday. What was it? Muscle memory? Divine providence?

True, the straps were only just long enough – had I expanded or had they shrunk? True, they were thin and fragile and browny-yellow with age. For me browny-yellow was the new black. Come the morning I headed to shul, bag in hand. A kind man came up and said I’d made up the minyan. I may even go again. The tefillin went on lovely. If they don’t come out of that cupboard for another 50 years, it won’t be me who’ll be wearing them.


Sex abuse arrest at Jewish school 
By Simon Rocker
Jewish Chronical - February 27, 2014

Police investigating allegations of sexual abuse of pupils at Carmel College, the now closed Jewish public school, have made an arrest, the JC has learned.

Thames Valley Police said that a 76-year-old man from Essex had been arrested and had been released on bail until March 24 this year.

Last March, Thames Valley confirmed that it had launched an investigation into claims of sexual abuse of students by at least two former members of staff at the Orthodox boarding school at Wallingford outside Oxford between the 1970s and 1990s.

Opened in 1948, Carmel taught 350 pupils in its heyday in the 1970s. By the time of its closure, student numbers had dropped below 200 at the “Jewish Eton”, whose annual fees at £14,000 made it one of the UK’s most expensive schools.



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