Rabbi scam leads to tough jail sentences

Rabbi scam leads to tough jail sentences

Two rabbis have been jailed in Israel for selling false rabbinical ordination diplomas.

Police and security services employees who obtained their diplomas from Rabbi Meir Rosenthal became eligible for wage bonuses of between $530 and $1,060 a month.

As a result the government paid out hundreds of million of additional shekels to the civil servants.

Rosenthal was yesterday sentenced by the Jerusalem District Court to seven years in prison and a $135,000 fine for handing out more than 1,000 bogus ordinations to soldiers, police officers and intelligence officials from 1993 to 2008.

Those who received the ordinations paid Rosenthal approximately $540,000 in bribes.An accomplice to the crime, Rabbi Yitzchak Ochana, received a 10-month prison term. Ochana was the personal assistant to former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, who is being tried separately for the offence.

Rosenthal and Ochana, as well as Meir Roimi and Aharon Gutsdiner, were convicted of aggravated fraud in the case in April. Gutsdiner and Roimi also received prison sentences.

Judge Amnon Cohen wrote in his decision:

We should not forget that he granted certificates that ordained someone to the rabbinate and gave the title of rabbi to people who were secular and did not observe Shabbat. In these deeds, he deviated cardinally from the norms of behavior expected of a public servant.

Hat tip: John Dowdle.

12 responses to “Rabbi scam leads to tough jail sentences”

  1. Peterat says:

    Who would want this “special” designation other than someone shirking their responsibilities or trying to make a quick buck? Think any of them performed any “official” functions that now have to be un and re performed?

  2. Norman Paterson says:

    […] gave the title of rabbi to people who were secular and did not observe Shabbat

    Nothing there about any objective way of knowing whether the title of rabbi and observation of Shabbat had any effect whatsoever beyond the title of rabbi and observation of Shabbat. Good scam.

    Actually this simply echoes what Peterat has already posted. Suppose one of these secular types had “blessed” something … why, it would not have been blessed at all!

  3. Paul Cook says:


    But let us be honest. Because what religion is, is make believe. So who has the right to say that ‘authorised’ ‘official’ ‘courses/studies/ordinations’ are ‘real’ and can/should be paid for, and they are okay? And how do they have any more or less meaning than this shit?

    Isn’t it all fake?

  4. Matt Westwood says:

    Does this mean there is a danger of unclean Kohanim?

  5. barriejohn says:

    Well, you wouldn’t want to find that your “Rabbinical Ordination Diploma” was a fake, would you? That would be dreadful. And as an addendum to what others have said, what about the millions who must have been “blessed” by popes and priests who have then been defrocked? Are they now writhing in Hell, or do they get compensation for all the wonderful things that God would have sent them had they received a REAL blessing instead? What a load of nonsense!

  6. Toto says:

    ALL religion is a scam. Every time the collection box is emptied the money going into the church coffers is gained under false pretences.So why get upset about this particular case? Selling indulgences is another famous way in which the pious conned money out of the gullible.


    Anyone who cannot figure that out deserves to be fleeced by the clergy.

  7. barriejohn says:

    Here you are; a little bit of photoshopping and you, too, can be a rabbi:

    Just leave the circumcisions to someone with experience!

  8. Stephen Mynett says:

    These diplomas are probably no worse that Ian Paisley’s doctorate.

  9. Trevor Blake says:

    I will sell false ordination paperwork for 1/10th of that price. Atheism saves lives and money!

  10. Robster says:

    Do the godly in Israel (supposedly godly too) public servants get an automatic pay rise on being ordained or something? That’s a funny one. Actually I’m somewhat surprised the entire Israeli public service hasn’t been blessed with rabbi’ness to gain the financial advantage.Do the rabbis stop to pray five times a day like those muzzies do? That would surely make them less productive but they get a stipend! What a dodge.

  11. Stephen Turner says:

    And the rabbi was a public servant too!

    I had to read the judge’s opinion twice before realizing it wasn’t:

    “certificates that ordered someone to rabbinate”

    which makes at least as much sense. Could be a useful new verb there…

  12. barriejohn says:

    Rabbis are paid by the state in Israel, so I suppose that accounts for the salary bonuses. The comments here are eye-opening:!

    #Please forgive an ignorant question but why is the state involved with paying religious stipends at all?

    #The question is good. It has always been that way here. Note that Germany also does this, along with many other countries that would surprise you.

    #Why does the state pay for cultural activities? Museums? Religious services are no different.