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July 22, 2007

Ohr Somayach Rabbi Banned From South Africa, Having Affairs With Many Women

Rabbi_lewis_furman Writing on Jewschool, David Kelsey reports on a leading Ohr Somayach rabbi, Lewis Furman tossed out of South Africa because he is a "serial philanderer." His liaisons are said to include married women. One woman's husband, on discovering the affair his wife was having with Rabbi Furman, confronted the rabbi and beat him up. That confrontation – not what appears to be years of private complaints from spouses and friends – is what got Rabbi Furman exiled. Before that, it seems the rabbis covered up for one of their own.

What interests me most about the story is not the human failings of this rabbi – what interests me is the lengths South Africa's rabbis went to cover up the story. They allowed the rabbi to flee to Israel to seek unspecified "treatment," and blocked publication of the story in the Jewish media.

Rabbi Goldstein also cited the laws of lashon hara (gossip), claiming these laws prevented him from talking about the case:

A source close to the chief rabbi said Furman’s behaviour was “not criminal” and the Rabbinate’s comments were constrained by the Jewish prohibition on gossip, loshan hara. Literally translated, it means “evil tongue” . But outraged members of the Jewish community, speaking on condition of anonymity, have accused the Rabbinate of “sweeping the matter under the carpet” and failing to be “transparent” about it.

Of course, the chief rabbi's position could not be further from the truth. The correct application of Jewish law in this case is to publicize the rabbi's misdeeds. But, as is all to common, rabbis opted for the less honest approach – and approach that protects their colleague while it endangers Jews.

Thankfully, the Times of South Africa printed the story. Now there is a chance that, if this rabbi seeks employment elsewhere, Jews will know about his problem and be very careful about hiring him.

It should be noted that South Africa's chief rabbi, the man who apparently brokered the deal allowing Rabbi Lewis Furman to flee, is Warren Goldstein, a 34 year old kiruv (outreach; missionary) rabbi who formerly worked for Ohr Somayach.

Rabbi Goldstein's doctoral thesis is an apologia of Jewish law attempting to make it seem advanced and modern compared to western law. To this end Rabbi Goldstein extols Jewish law's treatment of women, apparently never mentioning the very real problems of agunot, for example.

This type of dishonesty is central to kiruv theology.

So rabbis circle the wagons again and protect one of their own. Not much new there.

Above right: Rabbi Lewis Furman.


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Three cheers for a goyish newspaper that publishes these evil deeds.
I would have stuck his pxxxx in a light bulb socket and then turn on the 'juice'

I would have stuck his pxxxx in a light bulb socket and then turn on the 'juice'

How about nailing his 'unit' to the floor and setting the house on fire?

/If OS is 'rehabbing' him in Israel, I hope they are proud of themselves.

//OS needs to make sure their 'kiruv professionals' are well-versed in the 10 Commandments. Then they would be aware of things like coveting someone's wife, and, uh, what else, oh yeah! Adultery!

can we post some pics :)

What about Bill Clinton?

What about Bill Clinton?

What about him?

As a tikun for this and to diminish such acts in the future Furman and Ohr Same'ach should study responsa of the Yaavetz which explains that men are permitted to have pilagshim and that their permisibility serves in part as a way to reduce adultery prostitution etc as Rabbi Yaakov Emden explains see here :

The South African Rabbinate should review Chofwtz Chaim and other responsa on laws of lashon ha'rah and teach it to the public that it is permitted and can indeed be a mitzvah to publicize the behavior of repeat offenders adulterers in particular.


What exactly were the rabbis supposed to publicize? That "everybody knows" this guy was committing adultery? Were there any witnesses? If the accusations were true, who exactly is being "endangered"?
Nobody alleges that Furman is a rapist, or a child molestor, or a violent sexual harasser. If the accusations are to be believed, he had sex with married women who were inclined to have sex with him. If so, he is a terrible sinner, but he is not a "danger" to anyone but his own soul and those of the people who sin with him.
You are way, way off base here.

Ever hear of clergy abuse? People who have power over others using that power to get sex?


And, BTW, would you want your wife to go for rabbinic counseling or to help out in the office of a synagogue that had a serial adulterer as a rabbi?

Of course you would not.

s'ha zion omade ha sechel b'tachet.big news.ha

wow, you guys work for the KKK or are you just judenrat? nothing quite like jew hating jews

It scares me that Jews can be so judgemental and are quick to forget the amazing work of Rabbi Ferman. He did some terrible things but he is after all a human and all humans are not perfect. We are taught not to judge others yet the moment the Rabbi did something wrong everyone is up in arms. would we want our personal life ravaged through the media???

Personally, Rabbi Forman is my Hero! When i was in need he was always there for me and my family. i think what he did was terrible but it was not done as a Rabbi but as a man. we are all blaming him but what about all the WILLING women who never objected? it takes 2 to tango... We are a small community- we all have our weaknesses. please find it in your hearts to look beyond this and realise what an amazing man he is!

Always there for you and your family.. you sure we wasnt f****** your mom?

everyone is blaming rabbi furman.what about the women that seduced him.he didnt rape them,they were as willing as he was.these married religious women should take responsibility and should be exposed just like rabbi furman.they got what they asked for[fucking whores].

1. Maariv published the story today (July 23, 2008). The omitted any identifying details (which is admirable) with a gigantic picture of a Cheredi Jew who was not related at all to the story (which is inflammatory).
2. I would advise all Rabbis to follow the laws of Yichud even when conselling. You have to be a risk taker in the 21 century for a clergyman to be alone with a woman in a closed room.

"everyone is blaming rabbi furman.what about the women that seduced him." (sic)

Excuse me, but being seduced didn't used to be a good excuse - especially for a Rabbi.

Of course he was a charming and helpful person; how else would he get these women into bed?

Reading these comments makes me realize how this behavior can go on for a long time without being discovered.

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