Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg was a famous Rabbi and Kabbalist who offered “Kabbalistic spiritual treatments” to his students and was well-respected and trusted by many. In what has become a major scandal, the Rabbi was using this as a cover to earn their trust in order that he could get close to other men’s wives so he could manipulate and sexually assault as well as have perverse conversations about sex with them according to a report:
The couple, the victims of Rabbi Sheinberg: “The rabbi I adored hit on my wife in our home”
Ariel discovered that he was outside the door when his venerable rabbi sexually assaulted his wife as part of “spiritual treatments.” Ariel did not know that the treatment of the remote control had become a constant blow to his wife – Yehonadav finds it difficult to rehabilitate his wife and the couple who was hurt: Their trauma, the economic difficulties added to all this – and the hope for justice in a civil suit.
The lives of Yoav, Ariel and Yehonadav (pseudonyms) turned on them at once four years ago, and did not return to normal. What became known as the “Rabbi from the North” affair became the reality of religious men who trusted their revered rabbi and discovered that he sexually abused their wives, often in their own homes, often within a few meters of the closed door.
Rabbi Shainberg, a sophisticated manipulator with a long history serving as head of Yeshivat “lights Ari” Safed, was convicted last year and a half with sexually assaulting eight women , and sent to seven and a half years in prison as part of a plea bargain. These days they are conducting a struggle within the framework of a civil lawsuit filed went up there to campaign A mass funding whose purpose is twofold: to assist them in the lengthy and difficult legal battle, but no less important – as a source of consolation and reinforcement from the public.
In a first interview, they tell Ynet about their side of the trauma – a couple who one day discover that the “Kabbalistic” spiritual treatments are nothing but an instrument by Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg , who turned them, without their knowledge, into a bridge to their loved ones.
“My wife had an aversion to these treatments”
The manipulations began, they say, almost imperceptibly. In most cases, the method was the same: the rabbi established contact with the woman on the basis of a medical problem and offered the help of “Kabbalistic forces” in healing, initially by exchanging emails, later in video meetings, Even in the women’s homes.
“I come to the yeshiva some morning,” Yoav says, “and he says to me: I do not want you to panic, but your wife has a medical problem and we have to take care of her.
“The first treatment was at home, and he instructed her to relax when he was present, so that his ‘mental-intellectual force’ would do the job, and we were very grateful that he came home and invested his time. On the way from the car to the beit midrash, he kept telling us that his time was very expensive and therefore our assessment was required. ”
“The treatments continued when he guided my wife, sometimes he came home, and that’s how it went on for years … On the one hand, my wife was always disgusted by these treatments, and on the other hand we understood that this was something we had to go through, All the time I only know that he is guiding her to do the ‘healings’ and that she is covered and he does not touch her or even look. ”
“The sky fell on my head”
In Ariel’s case, a similar but different story emerges: Unlike Yoav, he did not know that the “guidelines” for migraines from which his wife is suffering no longer reach through the email. “I knew that he was guiding her by email to perform these healings, it would all seem very legitimate to me. Until Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu (the rabbi of Safed) contacted me and told me that he knew that the rabbi had committed serious offenses and harmed women . He tried to explain that it was very serious and serious, and I responded with ‘Rabbi, I do not know what you’re talking about.’ ”
“We both talked to people and told them that it was not true, that this is a plot about the rabbi, and then my wife suddenly asks me if it is permissible to touch the intimate organs of women … I remember that I reacted directly to how it relates. The first one I understand is that it started by email, but he went on video calls that she apparently sees and does not see, and then to meetings where actions were taken. I felt at that moment that the sky was falling on my head. ”
“Your wife is a victim, she had no choice”
Yoav also wrote the first denial in the face of the shocking discovery: “Rabbi Shmuel (Eliahu, who exposed the deeds of Ezra Sheinberg) called us, and I remember myself telling him that I knew a case that the treatment was according to all the halakhic rules, But he was informed of other cases.
“I called my wife and told her what Rabbi Eliyahu said, and I asked her if there was any kind of contact, but she was in the middle of the job and could not expand, and I thought it was innocent touches of therapy. “He said.
“We continued to talk about the subject – but each time I tried to ask her, she evaded it, and I told her that if we knew that the treatment was done properly, then we should help Rabbi Sheinberg, if you do not tell, how do we know? The Rashash oath? ‘ And she tells me he swore her not to tell, and that a woman who talked about it got sick. She does not tell me everything, just snippets, but enough to make me understand. I told her that it was all right and that our rabbi probably knew what he was doing and that it was normal. But inside me I understood as a man that it was not something that was treated. ”
“The middle of the night, and I’m sitting in bed, full of thoughts, frustration, astonishment, a rabbi whom we admire turns out to be one of the bastards, who does things I could not imagine in my home with my wife, and suddenly she tells me that I was only in a small part of the treatments, I was there, too, for treatments done in other places.
He conducts sexually explicit conversations with women who come to him for consultation, and refers to a therapist suspected of rape. The investigation by Yedioth Ahronoth and Ynet reveals the problematic behavior of Rabbi Yinon Yona, a neighborhood rabbi in Jerusalem who is considered an expert on matters of purity and family.
The rabbi said: “When you are in bed with your husband, give me a call”
“I wake her up in the middle of the night and ask her, ‘Did not you tell me everything?’ She tells us that something is pressing her in the chest and that she is unable to breathe, and we tell her doctors that she is under stress at work, and I call my wife at 4 AM and tell my wife that she will not worry, That he swore more women in the same way. ”
“In the morning, my wife is released from the hospital, and I – instead of going home with her and helping her prepare Shabbat for the guests on our way – I told her that I was not capable right now and went straight to Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu. A woman with a story and another story about how Rabbi Sheinberg used Kabbalistic concepts to hurt them.
What is going to happen to our house, and Rabbi Eliahu said to me: If you love your wife, then you have to believe in her. It has no choice. ”
“It reached the level I wanted to divorce”
Yehonadav never lived in Safed, and his wife was hurt only through video meetings. When you realize that something has really happened, it comes to you like a thunderstorm, and you do not know how to eat it, on the one hand, you want to be there for her, and on the other hand you can not He did not come and told me what happened there, but only in general, and only when one of the students published the indictment on the Internet did I understand that to this day she has not sat and talked to me about it, she still can not “He said.
“There is a serious blow to her credibility as a partner,” explains Yehonadav. “You always ask yourself, what does she tell and what she does not tell, there is economic damage, there is a two-year mental treatment, a trial and discussions that have to be traveled far, her shame is so strong, she does not want anyone to know.
“We hide from the children who understand that something has happened, and do not know what … They hide from friends, from the family and even from their parents … No one knows, and therefore no one can help you either. , Her behavior has become tense and nervous, to this day she does not believe anyone, including me, a scar that never gets cured, not even 90%. ”
Have you gone to therapy?
“After all, the movies just keep running in my head.” “How much is the injury?” Sexualization is a bad thing, so when it comes from an important and rabbinical figure, to our personal space, the concealment that was there, of course, with its full intention, is very difficult.
“Everyone says: They must have been weak and miserable women,” says Yoav, “because it’s hard to understand how such a thing could happen, but everyone who knows it closely knows that this is not the story. Some of them refuse to testify, and others justify it, to the extent that it sounds hallucinatory. ”
“After the testimony stage in the police, there was a confrontation,” says Ariel. “At the end of the story, he will leave you and he will continue to be my student. If I thought about it, I would say that I did not remember, I remember that I shouted at him as I did not shout, and that’s where the healing process started, at the point where you fight back and no longer do you any harm. To this day I accompany her everywhere – to a psychologist, to a doctor, anywhere. ”
“Victims in criminal proceedings are nothing”
All three of them are talking about serious economic damage. The prices of mental treatments that can not be stopped eat the family expenditure every month, alongside the legal battles and daily coping with the trauma. Yehonadav tells me about the dream of the house that disappeared, because the money saved was for lawyers, “holidays” in court and damage to the ability to earn a living.
Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg, and how my help, the quiet boy, turned into a charismatic charismatic leader, who was able to see through the eyes of his students, and to see the results of medical examinations: – and to rape women who came to him for counseling
“All the savings, everything went,” he says. “There are stupid people who will follow him in the air and out of jail, and I hear people in my job who say that enough of this talk about sexual harassment is enough, and that today it is no longer possible to give a compliment to a girl.
The understanding that the criminal legal process will not provide the required response to the serious harm that they have undergone has begun to take shape among the victims, who have appealed separately to file a civil action. Some of them have already done so at the same time as the trial, while others have been awaiting the final conviction.
They say that the civil suit serves two main purposes: preventing the early release of Sheinberg, which may lead to the reopening of the community and a demand for compensation that is supposed to help them cope with the legal, economic and emotional pit created by the violation.
“This is a war of deterrence against the next offender”
The mobilization of the masses that will assist in the prosecution will have another ten days, until the end of the month . “We do not see how many donors we have,” says Ariel. “You can also give NIS 30. We do see the name of the donor, and that alone gives us the strength to continue to cope, which allows us to hold another day with our heads above the water.” He adds: “Let us feel you are with us.”
According to Yoav, the decision to turn to a civil proceeding was formulated by him and his wife after they understood that “the victims in the criminal procedure are nothing, they are not a party to the suit. We have the right to conduct our struggle against him only in a civil suit, in which we can seek compensation and conviction for all the acts that were committed, not only in part. ”
“The prosecution was charming,” he emphasizes. “I have no complaints, but the procedure as it is in Israel requires a lot of corrections,” he said, adding that the only way he harmed these young women was by virtue of the authority The Rebbetzin who had him, and their full trust in him. ”
Ariel: “It’s another pain, more reminders, it’s to continue dealing with the wound, in the end it’s not a desire for money, like the desire to know that we are fighting and that no one can do such things while we sit quietly.
“We understood that we should do everything to paralyze this person forever, and that the campaign to raise funds to help our legal struggle is precisely for this, I want people to understand that this is not just a personal war, but a deterrent war against the next criminal