Bukharian Rabbi Fights To Keep Post

Itzhak Yehoshua Confidently Battles Dizzying Array of Charges

Sukkah Star: Itzhak Yehoshua refuses to step down as Bukharian chief rabbi, despite being accused of a dizzying string of misdeeds.
paul berger
Sukkah Star: Itzhak Yehoshua refuses to step down as Bukharian chief rabbi, despite being accused of a dizzying string of misdeeds.

By Paul Berger

Published October 22, 2012, issue of October 26, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 4)

Alishaev, who is president of the community center, said he did not want to say whether Yehoshua had done anything wrong. But, he added, Yehoshua “does not have [the] right to speak on behalf of… the community center or the community at all.”

Several Bukharian rabbis declined to comment on Yehoshua’s removal. One insider described the episode as a “black eye” for the community.

Even those who believe the allegations against Yehoshua say — with a sigh — that he is a talented rabbi who, by guiding its initial establishment and growth, achieved great things for the community. One person said he “cried tears” over Yehoshua’s downfall.

“He’s a very great guy,” said Yehoshua supporter Arthur Shakarov, managing partner of King David, a kosher Bukharian restaurant. “I don’t know why people are telling about him so much bad stories.”

Rumors in the community circulate that Yehoshua accepted money for easy conversions. But people are vague on details.

When asked about the beit din rulings, Yehoshua would say only that he was accused of allowing a ritual slaughterer to continue practicing after he ought to have retired.

Rabbi Peretz Steinberg, one of the five rabbis from the Queens Beit Din that ruled in the matter, initially declined to give any details. Later, he said that Yehoshua performed a number of conversions that “were not proper.”

There were “other things, as well,” Steinberg added, but “we didn’t get involved in the thievery and the dishonesty.”

Yehoshua refused to attend the beit din hearings.

Instead, he went to Israel, where he persuaded former Sephardic chief rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron to investigate the Queens Beit Din ruling. In a ruling, posted on Yehoshua’s website in January Bakshi-Doron declared the Queens beit din judgment “completely illegal.”

Yehoshua “is a respectful and peaceful man and not the bloodthirsty savage whom he was wrongfully claimed to be,” Bakshi-Doron wrote.

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!
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • 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.