How Is Abner Weiss Still A Licensed Therapist And Rabbi?

He’s a classic.

He carefully grooms his women and then uses Torah to f— them.

He’s not content to just get off on these ladies. It’s as though he wants to destroy them.

We’re not talking simple sex.

This is an Orthodox rabbi who has women urinate on him.

And he gets paid for it!

And he’s been screwing around like this for at least a decade.

His website is ConnectingToGod.com. He presides over the Westwood Village Shul. He’s the co-president of Village Mental Health Associates.

How did I first realize that something was very wrong with this brilliant man?

About ten years ago when I saw he was giving kaballah seminars with secular and sleazy Hollywood producer Harry Jakobs.

How does Abner Weiss get to have sex with women he counsels and retain his rabbinic and therapist license?

I’m not seeking to morally censure him. I just want to understand how he does it.

I’ve been tracking his deterioration.

No wonder Rabbi Steven Weil has banned him from Beth Jacob.

Rabbi Weil made a bunch of phone calls around Passover 2008 after hearing a credible report on Rabbi Weiss having a sexual relationship with a woman in the community who he counseled.

Abner Weiss doesn’t respond to my interview requests.

Oh well, this blog post marks the end of his career.

If necessary, I’ll post more details and then you’ll see he makes Aron Tendler look like a tender tzaddik.

A lot of people forgave Abner for his screwing around at Beth Jacob and hoped he’d settle down with his new marriage (with a female congregant he used to counsel while the head of Beth Jacob).

Well, it didn’t work out that way.

With the Beth Din of Los Angeles, Abner Weiss (who was its head until 2000) has presided over more than 100 conversions to Orthodox Judaism.

I wonder how many of these were sexually tainted?

As his Beth Jacob scandals were about to go public in 2000, Rabbi Abner Weiss did a fancy three-step. He quit Beth Jacob and took a job in England. He separated from his wife and then divorced her a year later. He discovered he wasn’t a cohen. And he married the Beth Jacob congregant he’d been taken with for several years (Yuli Aronowitz aka Yolande Bloomstein).

He subsequently lost the support of about 90% of his former congregants. Some of them shrugged it off. Marriages end. Maybe he wasn’t a cohen. He should live and be well.

Neither his former wife nor his former congregation kicked up a fuss when Abner Weiss returned to Los Angeles and took on therapeutic and rabbinic duties.

How come Abner Weiss didn’t get kicked out of the RCA for marrying a congregant? He left Beth Jacob and went to Jews College in England in 2000. That’s when the drama played itself out. Therefore there wasn’t anything for the RCA to be involved in. Then he came back and the Orthodox community marginalized him.

If Weiss had stayed at Beth Jacob while this played out, he wouldn’t have survived.

As I posted a few months ago from a source:

Article Photo

- Rabbi Abner Weiss had affairs with married women in his congregation prior to Yuli Aranowitz.
We knew and did nothing because we did not want to hurt Shifra’s feelings. We also did not want to break up the marriage.
- He was very bold about it, almost asking to be stopped.
- Shifra says that when she was served divorce papers, she was surprised and shocked. The woman had no clue.
- When Abner went to England, Shifra stayed behind for one year. They agreed that she will complete her tenure at L.A. Unified and retire. Lucky for her otherwise she would have lost not only a husband but her pension and health benefits, too.
- He came to visit her during that time and she thought it was her he came to see.
- At the end of the year as she was packing to leave, the divorce papers came. It hit her like a ton of bricks.
- We all gathered at the S’uddah Shishit before her trip. None of us knew what took place. She got up like a lady, then calmly and elegantly told us in a few words that she is not going to England and that they are getting divorced. You could have sliced the air with a knife. Some people even cried.
- I never heard her speak ill about the rabbi or Yuli. She quietly moved on.
- It seems to that the Beth Jacob membership never forgave the rabbi.

I liked the rabbi very much. I was very uncomfortable with his behavior during the last years at BJ. I got over it. He and Yuli have a right to be happy. If Shifra is OK and moved on, who am I to begrudge them? As a pulpit rabbi, he served the community well and had wonderful Drashot and political speeches. I missed him a lot during the present rabbinate leadership. I know that I am not the only one…

Despite his screwing of various women’s lives in his capacity as a rabbi and therapist, Abner Weiss is the rabbi of and is a member of the Rabbinical Council of America (the union for Modern Orthdoox rabbis). Here’s his RCA profile:

strong>May 9, 2007 — Rabbi Abner Weiss studied at rabbinical seminaries in South Africa and Israel. He was ordained as a rabbi at the Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh, and by the Chief Rabbis of Israel. Later, he studied in New York with Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.

Rabbi Weiss was graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. His postgraduate education in Jewish Studies was at Yeshiva University in New York, where he was granted a Master’s Degree for his dissertation on the ethical and psychological thought of Rabbi Sa’adia Gaon, and a Ph.D. for his dissertation on Human Nature and Morality in the philosophy of Rabbi Loewe of Prague, one of the great masters of the Kabbalah. His study and teaching of the Kabbalah has continued from 1965 to the present.

Having majored in psychology in Johannesburg, Rabbi Weiss returned to the field, gaining a Master’s Degree in Psychology and receiving his clinical training at California State University, Los Angeles. He was later awarded a Ph.D. in Psychology by the Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center in San Francisco for his research on the effectiveness of rabbis as mental health professionals. Dr. Weiss is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of California. He is a clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and a member of the American Psychological Association, where he participates in the Division on Psychology of Religion.

Rabbi Weiss has occupied four pulpits on three continents. He was Chief Rabbi of the Province of Natal in South Africa from 1969 to 1976, and Senior Rabbi of the Riverdale Jewish Center in New York from 1977 to 1985. Rabbi Weiss served for fifteen years as the Senior Rabbi of Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, California, beginning in 1985. While there, he was Av Beit Din of the Beth Din of Los Angeles. He left the United States in 2000 to revive the faltering London School of Jewish Studies, revamping the rabbinical seminary and overseeing the development of a successful extension program for popular education. He was also the spiritual leader of London’s Western Marble Arch Synagogue.

In addition to his congregational work, he has served as President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, providing direction and leadership to 250 rabbis of all Jewish denominations. He also headed the Beth Din of Los Angeles for about twelve years. He is also the former Chairman of the North American Cabinet of the State of Israel Bonds. He also served has as a Vice-President of the RCA, and maintains a busy speaking schedule in South Africa, Australia, the Far East and Great Britain.

Dr. Weiss has also maintained a busy academic career, serving as Professor and Head of the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the University of Natal, South Africa, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Yeshiva University, New York, and Visiting Professor of Jewish Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, England. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Divinity by the Jewish University of America in recognition both of his effectiveness as a teacher and of his distinguished academic contributions to the field of Jewish studies.

Dr. Weiss has published many journal articles and book chapters including his popular "Death and Bereavement: A Halakhic Guide to Mourning" (1991 and 2000), and "Rabbis as Mental Health Professionals" (2000). In that book, he found that members of synagogues across the denominational divide would like their rabbis to provide them with counseling that is spiritually uplifting and transformative, but that most were disappointed in the inability of their rabbis to do so. These findings impacted Dr. Weiss’ approach to counseling and his recent writings and work, particularly Connecting to God: Ancient Kabbalah and Modern Psychology.

His shift from teaching philosophy to practicing psychotherapy was the realization of a dream he had ever since his first informal encounter with Kabbalah in the sixties when he began to see the Kabbalah as the framework for an integrated psychological system, and for a novel, spiritual approach to psychotherapy. His formal study of psychology ultimately provided him with the professional and academic credentials that would give credibility to his work in the brand new field of kabbalistic psychotherapy. He led a series of three-day workshops based on the ideas and the strategies of Connecting to God: Ancient Kabbalah and Modern Psychology, as well as follow-up seminars; see www.ConnectingToGod.com for more details.

Looking back over his accomplished career, Rabbi Weiss said that, “I take enormous pride my work on behalf of the South African persecuted masses, my involvement with the fledgling Jewish outreach movement through Yeshiva University’s Torah Leadership Seminars and the impact my work in the Beth Din has had on several generations of converts to Judaism and their families throughout the western United States and the Pacific Rim. It has been an honor to have touched so many lives, influenced so many students, congregants and seekers in so many places over so long a period of time.”

Rabbi Dr. Abner Weiss lives, practices, preaches, teaches and writes in Los Angeles, California. He is rabbi of the Westwood Village Synagogue in Westwood. His wife, Dr. Yolande Bloomstein, is his partner in Village Mental Health Associates. Between them, they have seven children, twenty-seven grand and great grandchildren.

Here is a profile of Abner Weiss’s current wife (from the Academy for Jewish Religion website):

Dr. Yolande Bloomstein, Professor of Chaplaincy Studies
With a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute and a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California, Dr. Yolande Bloomstein is in private practice with Village Mental Health Associates. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Dr. Bloomstein was a Chaplain at the Cedars Sinai Medical Center Hospice Program as well as a member of the Chevra Kaddisha (Jewish Burial Society). She has conducted numerous workshops and seminars on “death and dying” to hospice, medical, nursing, social work and spiritual workers.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been chronicled by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, 60 Minutes and Entertainment Tonight. I teach Alexander Technique in Los Angeles (see Alexander90210.com).
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One Response to How Is Abner Weiss Still A Licensed Therapist And Rabbi?

  1. windle says:

    thank you so much for this info. This Abner guy just evaluated the “capacity” of a relative. I thought this guy was too smoothe. Can his lack of ethical behavior be verified?

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