Rabbi Marc Schneier, the spiritual leader of a tony congregation in the Hamptons, has been expelled from the Rabbinical Council of America, the Forward has learned.
The five times married Schneier was quietly expelled from the Orthodox rabbinical group earlier this year in relation to allegations, in 2010, that he had an extramarital affair with a congregant, according to a source with first-hand knowledge of the expulsion who did not wish to be named.
The RCA, Modern Orthodoxy’s largest rabbinic association, did not deny it had taken the highly unusually step of expelling Schneier.
The organization was unable to provide more details before the beginning of the Sabbath.
Reached by phone on June 5, Schneier said that the RCA never informed him that he has been expelled. He said that the idea he has been expelled is “crazy.”
“I’m not the kind of person to deny something if it took place,” Schneier said.
Schneier is founding rabbi of The Hampton Synagogue, in Westhampton Beach, N.Y., which attracts some of New York’s wealthiest residents.
He is also renowned as leader of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, an interfaith group he founded along with Def Jam Recordings founder Russell Simmons.
Schneier became the focus of tabloid stories in 2010 after it emerged that he was having an extramarital affair with Gitty Leiner, a member of his Westhampton congregation.
The affair was exposed in divorce papers filed by Schneier’s then fourth wife Tobi Rubinstein Schneier.
Just one year previously the married couple had been pictured celebrating Schneier’s 50th birthday together at Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, where Rubinstein Schneier made a sizeable donation in return for the zoo renaming its lion after her husband.
The RCA convened an internal ethics committee, known as a Va’ad Hakavod, to decide whether Schneier’s alleged infidelity was “unbecoming a rabbi,” according to the New York Jewish Week.
But that investigation was put on hold as Schneier’s divorce wound its way through the courts and a judicial gag order prevented Schneier from cooperating with the RCA.
Schneier married Leiner in 2013. In theory, that should have lifted the judicial gag order and allowed the RCA to complete its investigation.