Haredi-Cofounded Nonprofit Organization That Helped Child Molester’s Family Make Aliya Wins Jerusalem Prize

By Shmarya Rosenberg (Failed Messiah blog)
February 24, 2015

This year’s Jerusalem Prize for Aliyah and Absorption was awarded to the cofounders of Nefesh B’Nefesh today – despite the fact that Nefesh B’Nefesh helped the family of a child molester who fled justice move to Israel to join him there.

Several months ago, Nefesh B’Nefesh helped the family of Brooklyn haredi child molester Yona Weinberg move to Israel – despite the fact that Weinberg, a convicted child sex predator and molester, had fled to Israel shortly before that from Brooklyn to escape yet another abuse-related arrest.

Nefesh B’Nefesh allegedly does background checks on the people it helps. Nefesh B’Nefesh has sometimes denied this, but persistent reports from people familiar with organization say the checks are in fact done.

Weinberg and his family now live in the heavily haredi Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem. Local haredi rabbis have worked to stop publication of Weinberg’s record of molestation while a handful of local haredi activists – almost all originally from the US or other western countries – have complained vociferously that Weinberg now lives in their neighborhood.

None of this stopped Nefesh B’Nefesh’s cofounders, haredi Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart, from getting the award which was given for the organization’s “praiseworthy efforts in assisting tens of thousands of Jews make Aliyah to Israel and guaranteeing their successful integration into Israel’s northern and southern frontiers as well as the rest of the country,” the conference said. The award was given to Fass and Gelbart by none other than Diaspora, Economy and Religious Services Minister Naftali Bennett in a ceremony at the conference.

Since 2001, Nefesh B’Nefesh has reportedly helped more than 40,000 people make aliya (immigrate to) Israel. How many of them have stories like the Weinberg family’s is unclear.