Rabbi disbarred for alleged sex offences is still practicing — report

Shimon Garelick of Nahariya continues to present himself as a community rabbi and counselor, Channel 2 reveals

Former rabbi Shimon Garelick (Screen capture: YouTube)
Former rabbi Shimon Garelick (Screen capture: YouTube)

A rabbi who was disbarred by the Chief Rabbinate after accusations of sexual assault still presents himself as a rabbi and counselor, according to a Channel 2 investigative report aired Sunday.

Rabbi Shimon Garelick had his rabbinic license revoked in August at the recommendation of the rabbinic disciplinary committee after accusations that he committed a spate of sexual crimes over many years.

Garelick served as a neighborhood rabbi in the northern city of Nahariya, as a kashrut supervisor, and as a chaplain at the city’s hospital.

Accusations against Garelick have come from girls, boys, women and men, according to Channel 2. Some date back many years, while some are recent.

Police have closed all cases against him because the complainants were minors and there was not sufficient corroborating evidence to prosecute him.

Channel 2 found that he still serves as the head of a synagogue in his neighborhood. A reporter also went to the rabbi for counseling and secretly filmed him.

In response, Garelick’s lawyer told Channel 2 that “the complaints were investigated by the correct authorities. The claims are malicious rumors put about by people with vested interests. There are no criminal or disciplinary investigations against the rabbi at this time.”

Claims against the rabbi first surfaced in 2007 when he was detained for several days with many accusations against him. However, police closed all the cases against him due to lack of evidence, and Garelick, a father of 11, was released.

The matter was referred to the Takana Forum, which specializes in dealing discreetly with sexual abuse cases within the Orthodox community. In 2011, the body ruled that despite not having been convicted, Garelick should not serve in a public role. They warned the community to keep their distance from him, the religious website Kipa reported.

“Since we first heard of complaints against [Garelick] and without any connection to disciplinary court,” a statement on the website reads, “the Forum has heard other complaints against that rabbi, of serious claims of sexual attacks. Some of the male and female complainants have turned to the disciplinary committee of the Chief Rabbinate.”

Fliers were circulated in Nahariya against Garelick, warning people to be particularly careful not to be alone with the rabbi and to be particularly vigilant not to let young girls speak with him or be secluded with him.

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