Forward Thinking

Weiner's Pinto Connection

By Jane Eisner

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images
LeBron James: Another Pinto ‘Success’ Story

As if embattled U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner didn’t have enough problems, he’s now been linked to a charismatic rabbi whose associates have issues of their own. The New York Daily News is reporting that Weiner “regularly” stopped by the classes and holiday gatherings of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto for spiritual advice and counseling. In return, the good rabbi instructed his followers to contribute to Weiner’s campaigns, raising over $300,000 for his 2009 abortive run for mayor, and for other elections, the Daily News said.

Readers of the Forward should recognize Pinto from the excellent stories by our Josh Nathan-Kazis. See here and here. Despite the rabbi’s reputation for modesty and business acumen, the $6.5 million townhouse where he lives with his family — owned by his organization, Mosdot Shuva Israel — was in foreclosure, and Mosdot was fined by the state for not paying workmen’s compensation to employees. Plus, Pinto’s top aide, Ben Zion Suky, has been tied to sales of pornography and legal troubles of his own.

The Daily News story only speculates on what might become of the Weiner-Pinto relationship now that the congressman is caught in a sexting scandal. But the venerable tabloid gets at least one thing wrong. In describing Pinto, the newspaper says that he “refuses to meet with women.”

Not so. Pinto met with me earlier this year in the aforementioned townhouse, where we had a very long and somewhat mystifying conversation, on and off the record, with Suky translating. Though we were later joined by Nathan-Kazis as part of his reporting, I first spoke to Pinto (and Suky) alone for about an hour.

True, he didn’t shake my hand, but I wouldn’t expect that of any ultra-Orthodox man. In return, I didn’t bow down and kiss his hand, as some of his followers do.

Weiner is not the only Pinto devotee hanging his head a little lower today. The rabbi grabbed headlines last summer when he was photographed meeting with LeBron James after the basketball star decided to join the Miami Heat. Given the Heat’s huge loss in the NBA finals on Sunday night, James might think about finding a new spiritual advisor, too.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Anthony Weiner, LeBron James, Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.