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Pepper Pike rabbi resigns after accusations of sexual conversations with officer posing as teen

Allegedly drove to location to meet
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Posted at 10:53 AM, Apr 20, 2022

PEPPER PIKE, Ohio — A 60-year-old Pepper Pike rabbi, accused of engaging in sexually explicit online conversations with an undercover officer posing as a 15-year-old boy, has resigned, according to his attorney Michael J Goldberg.

"Regardless of the evidence or whether Rabbi Weiss is guilty of anything, his remaining in his position would cause further disruption and pain to his community. He will now turn his attention to his legal situation. We look forward to receiving the evidence and moving forward appropriately," Goldberg said in statement about the resignation.

According to court records, Stephen Weiss allegedly went to a location in Cuyahoga County to engage in sexual activity with the undercover officer posing as a teenager.

Weiss was arrested at the scene by officers with the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Authorities said they searched his vehicle and found a box of condoms and two boxes of lubricant.

He was charged with the following:

  • One count of Attempted Unlawful Sexual Conduct With A Minor
  • One count of Importuning
  • One count of Possessing Criminal Tools

Weiss was senior rabbi at B’nai Jeshurun Congregation in Pepper Pike.

A spokesperson for the B'nai Jeshurun Congregation released the following statement to News 5 on Wednesday morning:

B’nai Jeshurun Congregation’s leadership was shocked to learn of the April 18 arrest of Senior Rabbi Stephen Weiss, said Rebekah Dorman, President of the Congregation’s Board of Trustees.

“We acted quickly to suspend Rabbi Weiss immediately as Senior Rabbi,” she said. “He has been ordered to cease engaging in any congregational duties and been barred from the premises. We will have no other comment on this situation at this time.”

She said that Rabbi Hal Rudin-Luria, its long-time Rabbi, will immediately assume all Senior Rabbi responsibilities. “Rabbi Rudin-Luria, along with Cantor Aaron Shifman and Education Engagement Rabbi Josh Foster, are continuing to work together in support of our congregation and to provide the religious and educational experiences that we value so highly.”

Dorman noted that B’nai Jeshurun Congregation has been strong and vibrant for 156 years and faced many challenges along the way. “We will continue on in that tradition as a synagogue family that supports and cares for each other in challenging times,” she said.

The synagogue has arranged for Jewish Family Service Association and Bellefaire JCB to provide confidential counseling for congregants and staff in-person and on Zoom.