Above: Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg
Alleged Serial Rapist Rabbi-Kabbalist Indicted
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Zionist Orthodox kabbalist Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg was indicted on charges that he sexually abused, raped or sodomized at least 13 women, Arutz Sheva reported.
Sheinberg had a large following and headed several prominent schools and institutions, including the Orot HaAri yeshiva, in the northern Israeli city of Sefat when he was arrested almost a month ago as he tried to flee the country.
After a small number of women (as many as three and as few as one, the number is not clear) complained, a beit din (religious court) headed by the Chief Rabbi of Sefat Shmuel Eliayhu previously exiled Sheinberg from Sefat and ordered him to stop teaching. But it did not report Sheinberg to police because it chose to believe what Sheinberg told it: that the sex was consensual.
The actual evidence, however, showed otherwise.
And as one of Sheinberg’s victims prepared to go to police to report the abuse and other alleged victims were believed to be about to come forward, Eliyahu and his beit din suddenly came to the realization that Sheinberg had abused and raped the women and publicized its ban against Sheinberg, who it now calls "evil ."
Previous behavior of Eliyahu and the seemingly odd way his beit handled the Sheinberg case have prompted some people, including Dr. Hannah Kehat, to accuse Eliyahu of initially covering up for his friend Sheinberg. Kehat is a founder of the Takana Forum, the Zionist Orthodox committee that handles complaints of sexual abuse and other similar crimes allegedly perpetrated by rabbis. She points to Eliyahu demonization of victims in another similar case several years ago and bitterly lashed out at Eliyahu for what she implies is his sudden attempt to look righteous only after it became clear victims would likely be reporting the abuse (and his beit din's behavior) to police. Kehat notes that many alleged victims of Sheinberg were afraid to come forward earlier because they feared that Eliyahu would destroy them as he had destroyed the alleged victims in that previous case.
In all, as of last week at least 13 women had filed criminal complaints against Sheinberg for rape and abuse and a district court judge told an open court that strong physical evidence against Sheinberg has been brought forward.
But despite that and his alleged admission made to Eliyahu and his beit din, Sheinberg now the charges against him, calling them “nonsense.” Sheinberg also claims all of the women who filed criminal complaints against him were forced to do so by an unnamed head of a conspiracy meant to harm him.
According to various media reports, Sheinberg allegedly told what could be dozens of women who came to him for advice or blessings that having sex with his was a kabbalist cure for their infertility and for other problems.
Sheinberg has been jailed since his arrest at Ben-Gurion International Airport. At one point during his detention, Sheinberg allegedly issued a kabbalistic curse called a “kapeida” against prison guards, frightening several of the guards who are religiously observant. The Israel Prisons Authority opened an investigation of Sheinberg as a result.
Like with the rape, sodomy and abuse charges, Sheinberg denies he ever cursed any of the prison guards.
At Sheinberg's Zionist Orthodox yeshiva in Sefat, Sheinberg's books were cleared off the shelves placed in a trash can for burial or burning, and students had almost completely disowned him – a marked distinction compared to similar cases in the haredi community in which haredi yeshiva students and activists have maintained strong support for rabbis who sexually abused women and children. In those haredi cases, the yeshiva students, haredi community activists and other haredi rabbis also demonized and harassed the victims. Even long after their rabbi-abusers have been convicted and imprisoned, the victims still suffer from regular harassment and ostracism from the haredi community while periodic fundraisers and honorific events are held in support of the rabbis who raped them.
All Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg Posts (through 7-19-2015):