Beyond evil - with the full knowledge of his wife ---- How low does it get?
Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg, 49, was convicted last July 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 specific charges were not publicized by the court. The criminal
proceedings were under a gag order preventing publication of any details
of the incidents due to the “egregious nature” of the crimes and to
protect the privacy of the victims.
The prosecution had initially demanded that the former head of the
Orot HaAri yeshiva receive a minimum of nine years in jail sentence
after his conviction. But the defense provided “significant proofs which
helped discredit some of the accusations,” according to a Tuesday
Justice Ministry statement, prompting both sides to accept the plea
bargain after several charges of rape were dropped.
Responding to the sentencing, Sara Markovich, who represented three
of the victims, said they were “satisfied” with the ruling, despite
having sought harsher punishment.
“Overall we are satisfied that this criminal who calls himself a
rabbi is not immune from punishment under the law and is going to sit
for many years in prison,” Markovich said. “This man abused the trust of
these women in the most discraceful way possible and deeply damaged
them, some of them members of his own community.”
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
He 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
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
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
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.