Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A total of 14 women made allegations against Sheinberg to a special investigation team and police suspect that many other victims were afraid to come forward. The victims were all religious women who had come to the rabbi for advice or help on various issues including health.

A well-known rabbi and yeshiva head from Safed was convicted on Wednesday of committing sexual crimes against eight women.

Safed rabbi convicted of rape for ‘sex therapy’


Ezra Sheinberg, ex-yeshiva head, confesses to using his position as a spiritual leader to take advantage of eight women

July 26, 2017, 10:04 pm


Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg, suspected of sexual abuse against several women, is seen at the courtroom of the Kiryat Shmona Magistrates Court on July 8, 2015. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)
Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg

Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg confessed and was convicted in Nazareth District Court as part of a plea deal over a series of crimes committed against women who came to him for advice and counseling. 

The prosecution demanded that the former head of the Orot HaAri yeshiva receive a nine-year jail sentence after his conviction for crimes, including rape and indecent assault.

A total of 14 women made allegations against Sheinberg to a special investigation team and police suspect that many other victims were afraid to come forward. The victims were all religious women who had come to the rabbi for advice or help on various issues including health.

Sheinberg had been a popular Kabbalist and respected figure in Israel’s national-religious community and author of several books of Torah ideas.

Sheinberg was arrested on July 1, 2015, as he attempted to flee the country as allegations against him emerged. He has been in prison since that time.

According to prosecutors at the time, Sheinberg used his position of prominence and reputation as a powerful mystic to lure in and take advantage of women who came to him for religious counsel and blessings for fertility when they struggled to conceive.

They alleged that the victims shared a number of characteristics: they were young religious women whose husbands, in most cases, were Sheinberg’s students at the seminary.

Part of his modus operandi involved convincing the victims that only he could provide a solution to their problems, through a treatment he dubbed “relaxation.”

During those sessions, Sheinberg fraudulently obtained his victims’ consent to commit sexual acts, prosecutors said, adding that the defendant used innocent young women who trusted him as a tool to satisfy his sexual desires.

Some of the women had originally approached a rabbinic council with the allegations. A team of local rabbis, led by Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, began investigating the accusations in mid-June 2015, and later reported them to the police.

Sheinberg’s wife told Eliyahu that she knew her husband had sex with the women, but that the sex was part of their therapy.

Sheinberg has eight children and several grandchildren.

The overall national rate of mental illness was about 18 percent ---- How Did They All Wind Up In New York City - 42 Broadway?


Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. Adults Has Mental Illness or Drug Problem

(HealthDay News) -- Nearly 1 in 5 American adults deals with a mental illness or substance abuse problem each year, a U.S. government study says.

Oregon has the highest rate, and New Jersey the lowest, according to 2012-2014 data analyzed by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Overall, almost 44 million Americans 18 or older had a diagnosable mental, behavioral or emotional disorder in the past year, researchers said. They reviewed national surveys on drug use and health.

"The figures in SAMHSA's report remind us how important it is to take mental health as seriously as any other health condition," Kana Enomoto, SAMHSA acting deputy assistant secretary, said in an agency news release.

The overall national rate of mental illness was about 18 percent.

In Oregon, almost 23 percent of the state residents had any type of mental illness. Utah, West Virginia, Maine and Rhode Island were next, with rates above 21 percent.

In New Jersey, the mentally healthiest state, fewer than 16 percent of adults had a mental health condition, according to the report. The other lowest rates were in Illinois, North Dakota, Florida and South Dakota (all about 16.5 percent). (That's 1 in 6 Lakewood Guys... sooo if there are six thousand -- BEST guys in Lakewood (BMG)....Let's see how many people can come up with the difficult mathematical answer?)

Rates varied within states, too. For example, northwestern Oregon had a high of almost 24 percent. South Florida came in with less than 15 percent having a diagnosable mental illness in a given year.

"The presence of [any mental illness] in every state reinforces that mental illness is a major public health concern in the United States," the report noted. "Overall treatment levels remain low, and addressing the mental health of U.S. adults remains a concern for state and national public health officials."

Highlighting the percentage of people with a mental illness at state and local levels can help policymakers assess mental health needs in their communities, the researchers noted.

Examining changes over time is a key part of such assessments. The report said that rates of past-year mental illness among adults rose in California, Maine, North Carolina and Rhode Island between 2010-2012 and 2012-2014. There was no change in other states.

-- Robert Preidt



Abuse Survivors Press For Statute Bill

In wake of stalled legislation, demonstrators call on Agudah to get behind Child Victims Act.

In a bid to turn up the pressure on Agudath Israel of America over its policies towards sexual abuse victims, activists and abuse survivors protested Sunday in front of the Novominsker shul in Borough Park, the second such protest this summer.

About 30 protesters — including at least 10 of whom said they were abused as children — spent nearly three hours demonstrating their frustration with Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, one of the leaders of Agudath. The charedi umbrella group is one of a few organizations in the Jewish community that has strongly objected to the Child Victims Act, a bill that would increase the statute of limitations for sex crimes committed against minors in New York State. Other groups opposed to the bill include the New York State Catholic Conference and the Boy Scouts of America; they argue that increasing the statute of limitations would expose them to potentially crippling legal bills.......