Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg was the co-founder and day-to-day head of a kosher supervision company based in Sefat in Northern Israel. Accused by more than 10 women of rape and sexual abuse, Sheinberg has been jailed since he tried to flee Israel more than two weeks ago. Now his kosher supervision will likely be disbanded.
Above: Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg; below, the Orot Eliyahu kosher seal.
Yeshiva World's Israel correspondent reports:
Using the Chief Rabbinate of Israel mailing list to get his message out, Tzfas [Sefat] Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu Shlita sent a letter around the world disassociating himself with Badatz Orot Eliyahu, headed by Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg. Rabbi Sheinberg is a talmid chacham [Talmud scholar] who has semicha [rabbinic ordination] from HaGaon HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu ZT”L [Shmuel Eliyahu's father], a prominent dati leumi rav [Zionist Orthodox rabbi] and noted mekubal [kabbalsit] in that community.
In 2012 the two launched their Badatz Orot Eliyahu, perhaps the first and only dati leumi ‘badatz’ hashgacha, advertised being on line with the high standards maintained by some of the better chareidi badatz hechsherim [haredi kosher supervisions]
Rabbi Sheinberg, Rosh Yeshivat Orot Ari in Tzfas [Sefat] ran the badatz day-to-day. The badatz had a growing chicken shechita which adhered to the chumros [halakhic stringencies] of Rav Mordechai Eliyahu.
A number of weeks ago “a noted rav from the north” was taken into police custody in connection to unspeakable acts, including attacks against women R”L. YWN-ISRAEL does not general report such news items, but now that Rav Shmuel Eliyahu released his letter pertaining to the badatz, the item is relevant as Rav Sheinberg has been cited as the rabbi involved in the alleged acts.
In his letter Rabbi Eliyahu distances himself from the badatz, adding any and all chickens that were schechted [slaughtered] before Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av 5775 [7-17-2015] are fine and that anything that follows that date is no longer under his responsibility.
Rav Eliyahu was involved in the parsha [i.e., scandal] of Rabbi Sheinberg weeks before it was in the media. He placed the rav in cherem [excommunication] and together with another prominent rav in the city, they banished R’ Sheinberg from the yeshiva and all mosdos [related organizations] in Tzfas. When Rav Eliyahu was involved, prior to Israel Police, the matters at hand were matters of aveiros against halacha [sins against halakha; violations of Orthodox Jewish law] but the investigation has since entered the realm of law-breaking, hence the police involvement. [From the beginning, it was pretty clear crimes were involved. What changed was that after Eliyahu and beit din (religious court) ruled against Sheinberg, more alleged victims began coming forward while at the same time, some women began going to police to make formal criminal complaints.]
This led to Rabbi Eliyahu’s letter disassociating himself with the badatz, which is likely to close after efforts to transfer control of the hashgacha to the ‘Kosharot’ organization were unsuccessful. Kosharot is headed by HaGaon HaRav Elyakim Levanon Shlita.
All Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg Posts (through 7-18-2015):