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From JewishSF.com:

"Sunday, the Rabbi Assaulted His Wife," is the grimly ironic first-chapter title of Charlotte Schwab's book "Sex, Lies and Rabbis: Breaking a Sacred Trust." The wife in question is the author herself.

Schwab's analysis is borne out by her personal and professional experience, and by cases that have gained notoriety. When Robert Kirschner, senior rabbi of Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, was accused in 1991 of harassing, exploiting and abusing female congregants, students and an employee, the board of directors voted to keep the matter secret for the sake of everyone involved, especially Kirschner's wife and children.

That is a disastrous mistake, says Schwab -- silence is what destroys the rabbi's family. She interviewed Michele Samit, author of the 1993 book "No Sanctuary: The True Story of a Rabbi's Deadly Affair," about the murder of her friend Anita Green by a hit man on Oct. 25, 1990, after she'd spent the night with Rabbi Steven Jacobs. Green's abusive husband, Melvin, was convicted of the crime.

Jacobs' congregants in the San Fernando Valley concealed his affair with Green while it was going on, and kept silent even after her murder. "This is the same silence," writes Schwab, "that I and other women found/find when we reported/report our experiences to rabbinic authorities." It was silence, Samit believed, that killed Green and Carol Neulander.

The latter, wife of Rabbi Fred Neulander of Cherry Hill, N.J., was murdered on Nov. 1, 1993 -- the very date on which her husband had promised his mistress that he'd be free to marry her. He was convicted in November 2002 of hiring two hit men for the purpose. Neulander's philandering, too, had been kept secret by his congregation until it was too late.

Emanu-El's board of directors erred again in recommending that Kirschner return to his duties after a brief session of psychotherapy, according to Schwab.

From Kirkus Reviews: "At first, Anita was willing to be his slave, but as she grew powerful (as president of her temple), she fell into an affair with the temple's rabbi [Steven Jacobs], a practiced seducer whose escapades were pointedly ignored by his big-money congregation."

4/14/00 Jewish Journal:

The Striking Janitors -- A Jewish Response

By Rabbi Steven Jacobs

Those of you who marched in the '60s for civil rights and against the war in Vietnam know what exhilaration there is in walking with thousands of people for a just cause. It is transformative.

I have always felt a certain kinship with those who march for dignity and justice at great risk to their livelihood. So it is once again that I have marched each day with the striking janitors who are fighting for a mere $1-an-hour raise. They make a meager salary cleaning our commodes and emptying our trash in Los Angeles high-rises. The mostly Latino immigrant janitors face the same challenges as do coal miners in Appalachia or sweatshop workers here and in New York and other workers who are struggling to raise families on jobs that don't pay a living wage.

11/17/00 Jewish Journal:

Rabbi Steven Jacobs joins Jesse Jackson to address voters' concerns in West Palm Beach.

While the nation watched and waited as the battle over the presidency continued to unfold, two old friends met in Florida last week to try to bring a resolution to the dispute over the ballots in West Palm Beach. Rabbi Steven Jacobs of Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills and his longtime colleague, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, spent the week after the election touring the state, attempting to bring together what they called the disenfranchised voters of Florida's Black and Jewish communities.

Clergy Network May 16th 2004 Cleveland, Ohio Rabbi Steven Jacobs Kol Tikvah Temple Woodland Hills, CA:

When I was a child growing up in Boston, my grandfather told me a story of his friend's father and the persecution that he had experienced in Russia which led him to come to America. When he was out teaching at night, the Cossacks would pursue him and slash him with their sabers.  One night he was on the hill above his village with his Rabbi. As they looked down, they could see the Cossacks riding down and killing some of their Jewish brothers and sisters. I am told that my grandfather's friend's father heard his Rabbi say, "I wish I were God." He asked "Do you want to be God so you can change the bad to the good?" "No, I wouldn't change anything," replied the Rabbi, "I want to be God so that I could understand."

     We have reached a period in the history of this country where we must come to understand what is happening in our lives.

     When I was thirteen years old, there was a nine year old child that I helped pull out of the ocean in Maine that subsequently drowned and died.  I asked my father "Why did God make a world where terrible things happen? Why didn't God make a world free of accidents, diseases and problems?" and my father said, "to learn lessons."  I didn't like that answer and I was told for a number of years things like "that's life' or "to bring you closer to God."  Some were honest enough to say, "I don't know."

     Tonight we gather together and we cannot answer "that's life" and we cannot answer, "we don't know." Tonight we do know certain things and we must follow the courageous prophetic tradition of standing in the midst of our people and crying out "we have been deceived." Tonight we gather so that we may understand.

     Tonight we are reminded what one of our colleagues, Bob Edgar, said when he wrote, "Oh Lord remind us that your prophets never had a majority and never took a vote." This we understand.

     "Remind us that you created the heavens and earth. It was not created by Microsoft or Exxon or Wall Street or NASDAC." This we understand.

     "Remind us that there will be no surpluses in our budgets as long as children are hungry, women are abused and rats come out to eat the crust and bite babies." This we understand.

     "Remind us that poverty is not an essential ingredient upon which to build our economic system." This we understand.

     As we begin our gathering for the Clergy Network we stand together to organize, prioritize and strategize but never to compromise on Your Will. This we must understand.

"Rabbi Steven Jacobs: Woodland Hills, CA; Jewish; Senior Rabbi, Kol Tikvah Temple; Recipient, Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award; long actively involved in social, racial, human and labor rights; a leader in interfaith dialogue."

Rabbi Jacobs is on the national advisory board for Tikkun.

From the Los Angeles Daily News December 6, 2004:

Rabbi Steven Jacobs of Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills said he's urging his congregation to be mindful during the "festival of lights" of all the people who live in the darkness of poverty.

"We can't be so self-satisfied and give gifts while there's so many around us who are in need," Jacobs said.

.............

WHEN RABBIS GO ASTRAY (Part 2 of 5): Victims of rabbinic sex abuse suffer pain of communal denial
by Debra Nussbaum Cohen
Jewish Telegraphic Agency (New York)
Sep 19, 1996

In one highly publicized case, Michele Samit, who has not herself claimed to have suffered from rabbinic sexual misconduct, says she was totally vilified by her former community after she wrote a book about the relationship between Anita Green and her rabbi, Steven Jacobs.

Anita Green was the president of Shir Chadash -- The New Reform Congregation in Los Angeles, when she was murdered at point-blank range in 1990.

Her husband, Mel Green, was convicted of ordering the killing and is now serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Although Mel and Anita Green were separated at the time of her murder, her affair with Jacobs began while she was still living with her husband, according to Samit's book, "No Sanctuary: The True Story of a Rabbi's Deadly Affair."

Mel Green was an angry, jealous and violent man who had long threatened Anita, even in public, according to the book.

At Green's funeral, Jacobs, who had first denied but later reluctantly admitted his relationship with her, eulogized her not as a rabbi talking about his temple president, but as a lover, several people who were congregants of Jacobs' at the time, said in telephone interviews.

In her book, Samit wrote of the eulogy: "The rabbi recalled `admiring or just staring at her beautiful nails and her gentle hands; those hands, her skin so very soft, so reassuring, those beautiful hands.'

"No one [in the congregation] said anything" about it, Samit said in a recent interview, referring to what she believed was Jacob's inappropriate language.

"The reaction of the congregation was nothing. Not even discussion there."

That's what convinced Samit that she had to leave the congregation which had been her second home, and the rabbi who had been her lifelong spiritual guide, she said.

She said she was the target of a smear campaign by Jacobs and was harassed by the rabbi's supporters.

"People called me from the congregation and harangued me. They said, `You egomaniacal whore, you think you're better than us. How could you destroy such a wonderful man,'" said Samit in the interview.

"This was the most painful thing," she said. "Rabbi Jacobs was my hero. I had him on such a pedestal. He Bat Mitzvahed me, married me, I baby-sat his kids. We were so close."

Jacobs denied in a recent telephone interview that his relationship with Green was an illicit affair.

"She was a dear friend, my temple president, and after the fact that she was going through a divorce and I had already been divorced, there was a romantic relationship."

He described Samit's book as "full of lies" and said some have accused him of adultery because "people are angry when you achieve a lot in rabbinic life."

"I would not be in the position and stay in the position if people didn't know who I am," he said.

Samit said she believes that she and every other member of Jacobs' congregation bear some responsibility for Anita Green's murder.

"There were signs to all of us that Anita was in danger and we ignored them because we wouldn't dare cross our beloved rabbi," she said.

Another congregant, Michael Hirsh, outraged by his rabbi's behavior and his community's response, wrote to the head of the Reform rabbinical association's ethics committee in April 1993, charging Jacobs with violating the group's ethics code and demanding that it take up Jacobs' behavior.

Rabbi Jeffrey Stiffman, then the head of the committee, wrote back to Hirsch that Jacobs had agreed "to uphold all provisions of our Code of Ethics," which requires rabbis "to adhere to an exemplary moral code" and "to avoid even the appearance of sexual misconduct."

Hirsh responded to Stiffman with a letter saying that the action amounted to nothing more than "a rabbinic consent decree" for Jacobs to do it all over again.

"If there is a shanda (shame) here, it is not only in Jacobs' immoral conduct, but in your organization's complicity in covering it up," wrote Hirsch, a former investigative journalist and current television producer.

Jacobs remains the rabbi of Temple Kol Tikvah, the name adopted after it merged with another synagogue.

Experts in clergy sexual abuse say the denial among congregants can be dangerous because a rabbi can go on harassing and exploiting many congregants for decades without any of them knowing that the others exist, forcing each of them to bear the suffering alone.

And if a rabbi has sexually exploited one congregant, he almost always has exploited several, Fortune said, without referring specifically to any of the above-mentioned cases.

Fortune says she has worked with more than 3,500 cases of clergy sexual misconduct in dozens of different religious denominations during a 15-year period.

In the end, while the rabbinic perpetrators often move to another job within their movements or even stay in their pulpits after a slap on the wrist from their rabbinical organizations, it appears that the victims often go away.

They often divorce themselves from any connection to the Jewish community and, in some cases, go so far as to convert to another religion.

According to Fortune, denial of the problem is so pervasive because "none of us wants this to be happening."

"There is long-term damage being done here we're going to be living with for years,' she said, adding, "It doesn't have to be that bad if we respond better."

2) PUNCH

A 'Perfect' Life Ends in Murder / Jewish community tight-mouthed, mad about upcoming book
by LORI MOODY
Los Angeles Daily News
March 7, 1993
The San Francisco Chronicle

Anita Green had it all -- or seemed to. Big house in the suburb of Encino, successful business, prominence as a community activist. At 42, she was dynamic, attractive, caring, in the prime of her life.

And then she was dead, murdered in cold blood on a Thursday morning in autumn 1990 by a stranger on a motorcycle who followed her red Corvette and shot her when she parked in the lot outside her husband's business.

No one was safe anymore from the violence of Los Angeles, or so it seemed. The shock of Anita Green's murder hit hardest in the San Fernando Valley's Jewish community.

Green was one of its leaders. She had helped found a temple, Shir Chadash-The New Reform Congregation, in Encino, and overcome numerous obstacles to try and get a new temple built despite neighborhood opposition in suburban Woodland Hills. To her friends, she was the perfect friend with the perfect life.

But in the days after her death, the veneer of perfection began to crack. Not everything was as it seemed. Lacking evidence that would lead to the motorcycle assassin, police turned to Anita Green's friends and family for information about her life, clues that might lead them to her killer.

Early on, they suspected Green's husband, Melvin, a 55-year-old tax consultant. Their nine-year marriage had hit the skids several months before her murder. Close friends said he was an abusive husband, verbally and psychologically.

Police learned that Anita had grown afraid of Melvin during the months that they continued to work together after separating. They learned that she was having an affair with her rabbi, and that Melvin was jealous.

After a six-month investigation, Melvin Green was arrested for the murder of his wife. He eventually was convicted of murder for hire and sentenced to life in prison, insisting all the way that he was innocent.

The long months of gossip and debate about the murder of Anita Green came to intrigue a member of the Shir Chadash congregation, Michele Samit, a free-lance writer and two-time Emmy award winner, one for an investigative series on food stamp abuse, the other for a documentary on advertising.

Her fascination grew out of her own preconception: "Middle-age Jewish men do not murder."

Her probing brought her into the center of controversy at Shir Chadash, where many members felt that nothing would be served by dredging up the past. Samit and her family eventually left the temple, but she persisted with her book, "No Sanctuary," scheduled to be published in June by Birch Lane Press.

"I felt that it would show people how thin that veneer of safety that we've created had really grown to be, that you're really not safe anywhere you are, and so many people have so many things to hide," Samit said.

Michele Samit said that she was not prepared for the backlash that she encountered among the 10-year-old congregation of 550 families at Shir Chadash and the questions she asked about the relationship between Anita Green and Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs.

"Had I known what I found out, not only about (Jacobs), about Anita, about Melvin, they could have offered me $10 million to do this book and I wouldn't have taken it," said Samit, 33, a Woodland Hills resident. "I burned too many bridges to my past. In part of the community, I'm considered a pariah."

Jacobs, who became the synagogue's spiritual leader in 1984, told the Daily News in a prepared statement that his relationship with Anita Green was personal. "I won't comment on it now," he said. "I have retained a lawyer, and when we see the book we will review it carefully, and if anything untrue is said about me, we will take appropriate action."

Larry Seewack, a former president of Shir Chadash, said, "I hold (Samit) in such contempt."

He said he considered the 53-year-old rabbi a good and trusted friend whose life outside the synagogue was his own business.

Sylvia Holste-Lilie, a former secretary at the synagogue, said she was concerned that the book would tarnish Anita Green's image.

"I think people know that the rabbi and Anita were very intimate friends at a time when they were both legally separated," she said. "I don't think that's a big revelation. It's an upsetting topic. I think people will be concerned about Anita's reputation."

Phyllis Baltin of the Van Nuys area of Los Angeles, a former synagogue member and close friend of Anita Green, is among those who believe the story should be made public.

"I think the Jewish community in particular, I think they need to know they're not immune," Baltin said. "We're not any different from anybody else, and these things do happen and there is abuse in every form, spousal abuse and the pain that Anita went through and what it did to her. . . . We all make mistakes, and we all do things wrong. Nobody has to pay with their life."

Anita Green, the mother of a son and president of the synagogue, was regarded highly in the Jewish community, Samit said.

She led efforts to build a permanent facility for Shir Chadash-The New Reform Congregation on 17 1/2 acresar Pierce College, helped develop the congregation's Hebrew school and started a youth group. The congregation still meets in a Woodland Hills church.

"People adored Anita," Samit said. "There was no one who could work harder for a cause. She was very committed. Anita was such a good friend. There's nothing she wouldn't do for her friends and nothing she would not do for the temple."

Baltin, who first met Anita Green on Feb. 9, 1971, the day a 6.5 earthquake rocked the San Fernando Valley, said she was a vivacious woman with an intensely private side.

"She could have a lot of fun," Baltin said. "She was always put together so that the outside shell never showed the turmoil underneath. The manicure was perfect, the makeup was perfect, the clothes, everything had to be just so, and you never knew what was really going on in her mind."

Anita and her second husband, Melvin, appeared to be the perfect couple, Baltin said. "From what I saw as an outsider, when they were together, they were perfect," she said. "Then I saw it begin to just crumble, very quickly."

After Anita left Melvin and moved out of the house in the summer of 1990, Baltin said she noticed a transformation in her friend. Melvin Green told police that Anita filed for divorce after she moved out. "All of a sudden, the shorts, the cutoff sweatshirt and the hair was different and the makeup wasn't quite so severe. She was finally emerging into herself," Baltin said.

On Oct. 25, 1990, Anita Green parked her red Corvette behind Melvin's North Hollywood office. Although they had been separated three months, she still worked from her home as his office manager, going to his business for her paychecks. She was gunned down by a man on a motorcycle and died two days later at North Hollywood Medical Center.

Jacobs told police that Anita Green spent the night at his house before the shooting and left before he got up, according to the police report.

Jacobs, who married the Greens, told police that Melvin accused him of sleeping with Anita but said that was not true, according to the police report.

However, when asked during cross-examination by Melvin Green's attorney whether he had told a police detective that he had an "intimate relationship" with Anita Green, Jacobs replied, "Correct," according to trial transcripts. He testified that he was going through a divorce when he was dating her.

Police arrested Melvin Green on April 10, 1991, on suspicion of murder, with special circumstance of murder for financial gain. He was convicted on March 4, 1992, and sentenced to life in prison without parole in the murder for hire.

The conviction is being appealed on several grounds, including no direct evidence linking Melvin Green to the crime, said Green's attorney, Bob Gerstein of Santa Monica.

"I think he was principally found guilty by the jury based on what they thought of him as a person rather than the facts of the event," Gerstein said.

Anita Green told her beautician that she was terrified of her husband, the beautician testified.

Deputy District Attorney Kent Cahill said no evidence showing that Melvin Green had physically abused his wife was presented during the murder trial.

"If you are talking about (abuse) verbally and psychologically, there was lots of evidence of that, screaming at her, reducing her to tears," Cahill said.

Samit said she was not aware at the time that her friend Anita was miserable in her marriage. Samit said she believed Anita Green married for money and remained in the marriage for money.

"Anita didn't do anything horrible," she said. "She did what a lot of women do, she married somebody and stayed in a marriage for money. How many women do that and nobody ever finds out about it? I mean, I'm sure there's dozens and hundreds and hundreds."

Samit said she does not lay blame in her book.

"I don't ever point my finger, but I do feel the silence surrounding Mel's abusiveness toward Anita -- some people knew -- and the silence around the rumored relationship that people whispered about secretly between the rabbi and Anita, I do think the silence was partially responsible (for her death)," she said.

The silence still prevails, Samit said.

Los Angeles police detective Ray Hernandez, the lead investigator in Anita Green's murder, said many people cooperated during the murder investigation.

"After the trial, and after the sentencing, everybody was relieved, and then the sentiment shifted when knowledge was out that Michele Samit was writing a book about the trial," he said. "Many were personable and confidential people, and they feared it was going to go public."

Baltin said she understands why people are upset with the book. "You try to keep your shames under your hat," she said. "It's truly a large part of the Jewish faith -- if you ignore something, it didn't happen."

Samit said she would add chapters to the book in the event of another arrest.

"The police are actively investigating some of the information she has uncovered," said detective Mike Coffey of the Los Angeles Police Department's North Hollywood Division.

Samit said the situation is distressing. "I really believe if everybody had lived by the commandments of Judaism, if everybody had followed the rules and not broken any rules, Anita would still be alive," Samit said. "I thought about it for a long time. Our commandments really give us our sanctuary. My book's title is `No Sanctuary,' but if we follow the laws, we really can live safer lives."

3)
L.A. LIFE
LETTERS TO L.A. LIFE INCENSED BY GREEN STORY
February 28, 1993
Los Angeles Daily News

The article about the tragic death of Anita Green and how an ex-member of the Shir Chadash New Reform Congregation was going to capitalize on Green's murder and her personal life prior to her death by writing a book about her incensed me. (L.A. Life, Feb. 21).

To involve Rabbi Steven Jacobs of the New Reform Congregation in the Daily News story about an upcoming book by an unknown writer of apparent sleaze is not what your newspaper should be about, in my opinion.

The rabbi is and the late Anita Green was human; both being pillars of the Valley Jewish community. They do not deserve to be written about in a feature article as if the Daily News was a tabloid attracting readers with sensationalism.

- Elaine Skaist
Encino

4)
500 TURN OUT TO MOURN SLAIN TEMPLE FOUNDER
Beth Laski Daily News Staff Writer
October 31, 1990
Los Angeles Daily News

Nearly 500 people gathered Tuesday to mourn the death of Anita Green, a founder and president of Shir Chadash-The New Reform Congregation in Encino who was shot last week in what police called an intentional killing.

"This is not a time of anger, there is plenty of it. . . . This is not a time for accusations, there are plenty of them," said Shir Chadash Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs during the service. "This is a time to honor our incredible Anita. To let go and cry and experience the strength of our community."

Green, 42, of Encino was shot at close range in the chest Thursday morning - possibly by a motorcyclist who followed her red Corvette to the parking lot behind her estranged husband's North Hollywood tax-consulting business, police said. She died Saturday at North Hollywood Medical Center, police said.

5)
News
November 1, 1990
Los Angeles Daily News
..
Reward offered in murder

City officials and leaders of an Encino Jewish congregation joined forces Wednesday to offer a $30,000 reward for information about those responsible for last week's murder of Anita Green, a founder of Shir Chadash - The New Reform Congregation.

Green, 42, was shot at close range in the chest a week ago while sitting in her car in a parking lot behind her estranged husband's North Hollywood office. She died Saturday at North Hollywood Medical Center, officials said.

There have been no arrests in connection with Green's death and no motive has been determined, said Los Angeles police Detective Mike Coffey.

City Councilwoman Joy Picus said she was asked by police officials to offer the reward. Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs of the congregation matched the $15,000 offered by Picus.

Source: - Daily News
...

6)
REWARD IS OFFERED IN SLAYING
Beth Laski Daily News Staff Writer
November 2, 1990
Los Angeles Daily News

City officials joined police and religious leaders Thursday in offering a $30,000 reward for help in solving last week's slaying of an Encino community leader.

LAPD Detective Ray Hernandez said the only three people who knew the victim's whereabouts at the time of the shooting were Melvin Green, Gena Siguenza, Anita Green's hairdresser, and Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs of Shir Chadash - The New Reform Congregation in Encino, which Anita Green helped found and served as president until her death.

8)
MAN CONVICTED OF CONTRACTING WIFE'S MURDER
Rene Lynch Daily News Staff Writer
March 5, 1992
Los Angeles Daily News

Though never suspected of firing the shots that killed Anita Green, her estranged husband was convicted Wednesday of her murder, a crime prosecutors contend he arranged because she posed a threat to his tax consulting business.

Melvin Green, 55, is expected to be sentenced to life in prison without parole for murder for financial gain in the shooting death of Anita Green, 42, a prominent Jewish leader slain as she parked her red Corvette behind her husband's North Hollywood office on Oct. 25, 1990.

Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs said members of the congregation have not forgotten her.

"She was a wonderful leader, everyone who knew her loved her," Jacobs said. "All I can say is that the justice system has worked. We are glad it is over because when a death or a case like this is personalized, it is always difficult."

The Greens, who had been married nine years, were living in separate Encino homes at the time of the shooting. Anita Green still worked for her husband as an office manager, but worked out of her home and only went to the business to pick up her paychecks.

The gunman in the slaying has never been identified.

Evidence against Green included a witness who said Green often bragged about being able to commit the perfect murder, and once asked him how much money he would want to kill Anita Green.

Defense attorneys claimed their client is only guilty of having a bizarre sense of humor.

But prosecutors argued that Anita Green could have posed problems for her husband had she lived. She knew that his business had been investigated by the IRS and that he had a fake diploma, Cahill told jurors.

Green had a Jackson State University diploma for an MBA in taxation, but the Mississippi school, which has long-since changed its name, has never issued master's degrees in the subject, Cahill argued.

Defense attorneys claimed the couple's divorce proceedings were amicable, and prenuptial agreements would have prevented disputes over property. Green's wealth, which authorities have estimated as close to $2 million, would not have been greatly sapped by the breakup, they argued.

Eugenia Siguenza, who was Anita Green's beautician, said she had said the day before her death that she feared her husband's temper and hesitated going to his office to get a paycheck.

Cahill said Anita Green was picking up the check when she was shot by a motorcyclist on Oxnard Street in an what prosecutors described as an "ambush assassination."

9)
L.A. LIFE
SHAKEN FAITH RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY, CLOSE FRIENDS UNSETTLED BY BOOK ABOUT WOMAN'S MURDER
Lori Moody Daily News Staff Writer
February 21, 1993
Los Angeles Daily News

Early on, they suspected Green's husband, Melvin, a 55-year-old tax consultant. Their nine-year marriage had hit the skids several months before her murder. Close friends said he was an abusive husband, verbally and psychologically.

Police learned that Anita had grown afraid of Melvin during the months they continued to work together after separating. They learned that she was having an affair with her rabbi, and that Melvin was jealous.

After a six-month investigation, Melvin Green was arrested for the murder of his wife. He eventually was convicted of murder for hire and sentenced to life in prison, insisting all the way that he was innocent.

The long months of gossip and debate about the murder of Anita Green came to intrigue a member of the Shir Chadash congregation, Michele Samit, a free-lance writer and two-time Emmy award winner, one for an investigative series on food stamp abuse, the other for a documentary on advertising.

Her fascination grew out of her own preconception: "Middle-age Jewish men do not murder."

Her probing brought her into the center of controversy at Shir Chadash, where many members felt that nothing would be served by dredging up the past. Samit and her family eventually left the temple, but she persisted with her book, "No Sanctuary," scheduled to be published in June by Birch Lane Press.

"I felt that it would show people how thin that veneer of safety that we've created had really grown to be, that you're really not safe anywhere you are and so many people have so many things to hide," Samit said.

Michele Samit said she was not prepared for the backlash that she encountered among the 10-year-old congregation of 550 families at Shir Chadash and the questions she asked about the relationship between Anita Green and Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs.

"Had I known what I found out, not only about (Jacobs), about Anita, about Melvin, they could have offered me $10 million to do this book and I wouldn't have taken it," said Samit.

"I burned too many bridges to my past," said Samit, 33, a Woodland Hills resident. "In part of the community, I'm considered a pariah."

Jacobs, who became the synagogue's spiritual leader in 1984, told the Daily News in a prepared statement that his relationship with Anita Green was personal.

"I won't comment on it now," he said. "I have retained a lawyer, and when we see the book we will review it carefully, and if anything untrue is said about me, we will take appropriate action."

Larry Seewack, a former president of Shir Chadash, said, "I hold (Samit) in such contempt."

He said he considered the 53-year-old rabbi a good and trusted friend whose life outside the synagogue was his own business.

"Here's a man who administers not only to the general community, but to 500 families on a 24-hour a day basis," Seewack said. "Why he has to be subjected to this, I don't know. I don't know what he did to deserve this."

Sylvia Holste-Lilie, a former secretary at the synagogue, said she was concerned that the book would tarnish Anita Green's image.

"I think people know that the rabbi and Anita were very intimate friends at a time when they were both legally separated," she said. "I don't think that's a big revelation. It's an upsetting topic. I think people will be concerned about Anita's reputation."

Marcia Cayne, another founding member of the synagogue, said she hopes the community will look upon the book as cast in the same mold as a supermarket tabloid.

"Nothing she could say in the book would give any credibility to any rumor, none at all," Cayne said. "As far as I'm concerned, both Anita and the rabbi conducted themselves in a professional manner."

The Jewish community could only be hurt by the book, she said.

"It's not healthy for any community to be looked upon as anything less than moral," said Cayne, a Woodland Hills resident.

Phyllis Baltin of Van Nuys, a former synagogue member and close friend of Anita Green, is among those who believe the story should be made public.

"I think the Jewish community in particular, I think they need to know they're not immune," Baltin said. "We're not any different from anybody else and these things do happen and that there is abuse in every form, spousal abuse and the pain that Anita went through and what it did to her. . . . We all make mistakes and we all to do things wrong. Nobody has to pay with their life."

Anita Green, the mother of a son and president of the synagogue, was regarded highly in the Jewish community, Samit said.

She led efforts to build a permanent facility for Shir Chadash-The New Reform Congregation on 17-1/2 acres near Pierce College, helped develop the congregation's Hebrew school and started a youth group. The congregation still meets in a Woodland Hills church.

"People adored Anita," Samit said. "There was no one who could work harder for a cause. She was very committed. Anita was such a good friend. There's nothing she wouldn't do for her friends and nothing she would not do for the temple."

Baltin, who first met Anita Green on Feb. 9, 1971, the day a 6.5 earthquake rocked the San Fernando Valley, said she was a vivacious woman with an intensely private side.

"She could have a lot of fun," Baltin said. "She was always put together so that the outside shell never showed the turmoil underneath. The manicure was perfect, the makeup was perfect, the clothes, everything had to be just so, and you never knew what was really going on in her mind."

Anita and her second husband, Melvin, appeared to be the perfect couple, Baltin said.

"From what I saw as an outsider, when they were together, they were perfect," she said. "Then I saw it begin to just crumble, very quickly.

"In the beginning, she always put up a front to me," Baltin said. "She would say I had to go see her big new house, and all the stuff he bought her and everything else. But I could read between the lines."

After Anita left Melvin and moved out of the house in the summer of 1990, Baltin said she noticed a transformation in her friend. Melvin Green told police that Anita filed for divorce after she moved out.

"All of a sudden, the shorts, the cutoff sweatshirt and the hair was different and the makeup wasn't quite so severe. She was finally emerging into herself," Baltin said.

On Oct. 25, 1990, Anita Green parked her red Corvette behind Melvin's North Hollywood office. Although they had been separated three months, she still worked from her home as his office manager, going to his business for her paychecks.

She was gunned down by a man on a motorcycle and died two days later at North Hollywood Medical Center.

Jacobs told police that Anita Green spent the night at his house before the shooting and left before he got up, according to the police report.

Jacobs, who married the Greens, told police that Melvin accused him of sleeping with Anita but said that was not true, according to the police report.

However, when asked during cross-examination by Melvin Green's attorney whether he had told a police detective that he had an "intimate relationship" with Anita Green, Jacobs replied, "Correct," according to trial transcripts.

He testified that he was going through a divorce when he was dating her.

Police arrested Melvin Green April 10, 1991, on suspicion of murder with special circumstance of murder for financial gain. He was convicted March 4, 1992, and sentenced to life in prison without parole in the murder for hire.

The conviction is being appealed on several grounds, including no direct evidence linking Melvin Green to the crime, said Green's attorney, Bob Gerstein of Santa Monica.

"I think he was principally found guilty by the jury based on what they thought of him as a person rather than the facts of the event," Gerstein said.

Melvin Green was the type of person who frequently tape recorded his thoughts, said Arthur Alexander, co-counsel in Green's defense during the trial.

"The police hold years and years of these thoughts of his," Alexander said.

Anita Green told her beautician that she was terrified of her husband, the beautician testified.

Deputy District Attorney Kent Cahill said no evidence showing that Melvin Green had physically abused his wife was presented during the murder trial.

"If you are talking about (abuse) verbally and psychologically, there was lots of evidence of that, screaming at her, reducing her to tears," Cahill said.

Samit said she was not aware at the time that her friend Anita was miserable in her marriage. Samit said she believed Anita Green married for money and remained in the marriage for money.

"Anita didn't do anything horrible," she said. "She did what a lot of women do, she married somebody and stayed in a marriage for money. How many women do that and nobody ever finds out about it? I mean I'm sure there's dozens and hundreds and hundreds."

Samit said she does not lay blame in her book.

"I don't ever point my finger, but I do feel the silence surrounding Mel's abusiveness toward Anita, some people knew, and the silence around the rumored relationship that people whispered about secretly between the rabbi and Anita, I do think the silence was partially responsible (for her death)," she said.

The silence still prevails, Samit said.

"So many people in the temple community were appalled at me that I could even consider writing a book about it because it was airing the temple's dirty laundry, the rabbi's dirty laundry and that it really wouldn't serve any purpose, (and) why would I want to do that," Samit said. "That just intrigues me when people don't want you to write a story."

Others, too, noticed the reluctance of synagogue members to cooperate with Samit.

Los Angeles police detective Ray Hernandez, the lead investigator in Anita Green's murder, said many people cooperated during the murder investigation.

"After the trial, and after the sentencing, everybody was relieved and then the sentiment shifted when knowledge was out that Michele Samit was writing a book about the trial," he said. "Many were personable and confidential people, and they feared it was going to go public."

Baltin said she understands why people are upset with the book.

"You try to keep your shames under your hat," she said. "It's truly a large part of the Jewish faith, if you ignore something, it didn't happen."

Samit said she would add chapters to the book in the event of another arrest.

"The police are actively investigating some of the information she has uncovered," said detective Mike Coffey of the Los Angeles Police Department's North Hollywood Division.

Samit said the situation is distressing.

"I really believe if everybody had lived by the commandments of Judaism, if everybody had followed the rules and not broken any rules, Anita would still be alive," Samit said. "I thought about it for a long time. Our commandments really give us our sanctuary. My book's title is "No Sanctuary," but if we follow the laws, we really can live safer lives."

Holste-Lilie, the former synagogue secretary, said she doesn't think anything useful will come out of the book. But she believes the members will survive.

"It's a very close-knit and a very dynamic congregation," she said. "They are a very strong organization that I'm sure will prevail (over) any problems caused by the book."

Events surrounding the slaying of Anita Green

This is the sequence of events surrounding Anita Green's murder and the conviction of her husband, Melvin Green:

Oct. 25, 1990: Anita Green, 42, of Encino, was shot at close range by a man on a motorcycle outside her estranged husband's office in North Hollywood.

Oct. 27, 1990: Anita Green died at 3:35 p.m. at North Hollywood Medical Center.

April 10, 1991: Tax consultant Melvin Green, 55, was arrested at his business in connection with his wife's slaying.

April 11, 1991: Melvin Green pleaded not guilty to murder for financial gain.

May 10, 1991: Melvin Green was ordered to stand trial on charges he contracted the killing of his wife.

March 4, 1992: Melvin Green was convicted of his wife's killing.

May 27, 1992: Melvin Green, continuing to maintain his innocence, is sentenced to life in prison without parole.

.............

In her book No Sanctuary, Michele Samit writes that rabbi Jacobs that "always preferred women who were needy and in pain..." (pg 10)

He was a short man, a little over five feet three inches without his shoe lifts...

He was, and had always been, immensely appealing to women. He was hard to resist, and Anita was delighted that she hadn't, once she found out how tender he was in the bedroom. She had never known lovemaking like this. (pg 11)

........

His second ex-wife, Miriam Jacobs, later described the rabbi's reactions: "After services, he loves hearing how wonderful he was. He lives for that. He doesn't want to hear how his sermons inspired someone, but rather how he did. His ego gets all swollen, and he struts around the temple like a cocktail-lounge singer."

He often lavished attention on women congregants, and at times he appeared to get carried away. Women found him charming, and his attentiveness toward them did not go unnoticed. The vulnerable ones were like putty in his hands. They hungered for the rabbi's approval and went out of their way to secure his attentions. (pg 14)

By 1983, Rabbi Jacobs had been the controversial rabbi of Temple Judea for fourteen years....

Throughout the years, there were rumors that Rabbi Jacobs was sleeping with his congregants....

Temple Judea's leadership found it difficult to keep assistant rabbis and religious school directors on staff. It seemed that whenever another temple leader became popular, Rabbi Jacobs would grow jealous. A power struggle would begin, and Rabbi Jacobs fought his battles to win. He had a terrible temper... (pg 16)

One Los Angeles rabbi described Steven Jacobs's followers. "They were all in love with Rabbi Jacobs. Sometimes we jokingly referred to him amongst ourselves as the Jim Jones of the rabbinate." (pg. 114)

...Rabbi Jacobs [October 1990] did not mind breaking the rules as long as he made someone feel good in the process. After concluding [Yom Kippur] services, Steven and Anita went up to their room. ...Anita later expressed regret to Phyllis, at their last lunch together, that she and the rabbi had not been able to make love that day because Steven's children were staying in the adjoining room. (pg 131)

[Detective Ray] Hernandez noticed a pair of airline tickets were made out to Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs and Anita M. Green. He turned to face the waiting rabbi. "Were you planning a trip together?"

"Uh, yes we were," Rabbi Jacobs answered nervously.

Wanting to know if Mel's accusations had any validity, the detective pushed further. "Why? Are you two lovers?"

Rabbi Jacobs looked away as he gave the same answer he had earlier provided. "We're only good friends. I'm the rabbi, she's my president. We take a few trips together, always on temple business." He began to run his fingers through his hair. His face reddened.

Hernandez: "Rabbi, you're still a suspect. You realize that, don't you? You were the last person seen with her."

Rabbi Jacobs recoiled, visibly appalled. "Just who do you think you are? Do you really think I could be responsible for an act as horrible as this? I'm a rabbi. I could never hurt anyone."

The hardened detective wasn't about to let up because the rabbi was getting uncomfortable. Ray hated that Jacobs had the gall to hide behind the cloak of the clergy.

Ray asked him, "Did you ever have sex with Anita Green?"

The rabbi turned red. He was very angry and appeared to be forcing himself to remain calm.

"Well, yes...on just a couple of occasions. Maybe two times or something like that," the rabbi whispered softly.

"Did you have sex the night she stayed at your house? Um, let's see, Wednesday night, the night before she was shot?"

Rabbi Jacobs did not answer right away. He looked defeated. Slowly he nodded his head, finally replying, "Uh, yes. I suppose we did. But only had sex about two times. She was already separated and I'm divorced. We were two adults, just beginning a relationship. I know nothing about what happened to her. Really."

By now, Hernandez didn't believe anything Jacobs said.

"He's a lot less arrogant than when he got here," Ray said [Detective] Coffey as they watched the rabbi exit the apartment. "He looks a hell of a lot older too. Probably thinks he'll lose his rabbiship..." (pg 176-179)

When he arrived home the rabbi was upset. He consulted with a few temple members about hiring a lawyer. They told him not to, yet. Then the rabbi called in his political connections. They were sorry, but they couldn't help. (pg. 180)

As the rabbi watched his followers stream into the church's sanctuary, Ray Hernandez knew he was probably praying that his congregation would stand by him. It appeared that they would, for now, more than ever, the congregants needed to be together to experience the power of community. Jacobs was their leader. They needed his spiritual guidance to help make sense of this tragedy. Ray had seen it before. He called it the "Jimmy Swaggart phenomenon." For these people, no explanations were needed. (pg. 184)

What people remembered most vividly about the funeral was the shocking tone of the rabbi's sermon. It was obvious that Rabbi Jacobs's moving speech was not just a eulogy but a passionate memory of a lover now gone. (pg. 190)

...Rabbi Jacobs married Miriam Leah [a convert to Judaism], formerly known as Mary Louise, in May 1991, less than a year after Anita's tragic death. [Steven left her a year later and they divorced.] (pg 166)

There was a story circulating around the Valley that the reason Rabbi Jacobs had married so quickly after Anita's murder was because he needed a "beard." (pg. 237)

[Defense attorney Gerry] Chaleff...was now getting angry. This was a man of the cloth on the stand and he had sworn to tell the truth. Chaleff expected him to do so. "Do you recall telling Detective Hernandez that you and she were having an intimate relationship?"

"Um, I don't recall," the rabbi said, and then added, "At the moment, I probably could have said that. It would not be unusual." Rabbi Jacobs slumped down in his chair. It he could have crawled out of the courtroom, he most certainly would have.

"That would have been the truth, right?"

"Correct." (pg. 275-276)

Chaleff recalled a visibly shaken Steven Jacobs as his first witness. The last twenty-four hours had been particularly unnerving for the rabbi, and his discomfort showed. After spending a long night avoiding Miriam's questions, the rabbi was not as successful at avoiding the papers', which once again linked him directly to Anita and indirectly to the husband who was accused of murdering her. During his testimony, the rabbi was somewhat testier than he had been the day before. Perhaps that was why many on the jury decided that they did not trust him. (pg. 283)

After the trial, Miriam Jacobs said: "I asked him [Steven] questions, and he got angrier and angrier at me. He told me that he had never loved Anita and that it was just a sexual thing. He said that Anita threw herself at him and that he did not want to make her feel worse by rejecting her. But I kept asking questions, and he did not like that. He could not control my questions anymore. Pretty soon he left me."

Miriam and Steven Jacobs's divorce was bitter. They continued to live in the same house for many months. Finally, Miriam moved out, on Yom Kippur 1992, while the rabbi was at services. She claimed to have removed all the shoe lifts from his shoes the night before. She said, "It was my way of telling him to find another way to elevate himself before the congregation." (pg. 332-333)

Shir Chadash became Kol Tikvah in 1993 after merging with another floundering Woodland Hill synagogue, Temple Emet.

When Michele's daughter had her Bat Mitzvah at Masada in 1997, a longtime congregant of Steven Jacobs ran after Michele shouting, "If my 15-year old daughter has to learn about sex, I would rather it was with rabbi Jacobs than anyone else."