Monday, July 07, 2008

Case of Rabbi Michael Ozair

Case of Rabbi Michael Ozair
Kabbalah Coach
(AKA: Michael Ezra, Michael Ezra Ozair)

Pictures: left from the California Sex Offender's Registry. Right Facebook profile (2008)
Los Angeles, CA
B'nai David-Judea - Los Angeles, CA
Beverly Hills, Culver City, CA
Kol Yaakov, Monsey, NY
Michael Ezra Ozair plead no contest on November 5th, 2002, to one count of oral copulation of a person under 16 (the girl was 14-years-old). He was sentenced to 5 years felony probation, 1 year in county jail, a mandated term of sex offender treatment, and was required to register as a sex offender. 
Back in 2008, it was difficult to find Michael Ozair on the California Sex Offender Registry due to the fact his current residence is in Thailand, a country which is known to be a haven for child sexual predators. 

According to Michael Ozair may be back in the United States living in Los Angeles on South Wooster Street.  If this is true he is non-compliant with the sex offenders registry.  


Disclaimer: Inclusion in this website does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement. Individuals must decide for themselves if the resources meet their own personal needs. 

Table of Contents:  
  • Who is Rabbi Michael Ozair
  • Meet Rabbi & Spiritual Coach - Michael Ezra

  1. Six kabbalists reveal the substance behind the craze (09/28/2000)
  1. Charismatic Rabbi Faces Charges  (08/23/2002)
  2. Rabbi Charged With Molesting Girl, 14  (08/16/2002)
  3. Rabbi Charged With Molesting A Student (08/12/2002)
  1. The Same Man? (05/03/2004)
  2. The Kabbalah Coach has updated his site, too (05/04/2004)
  3. Kabbalah coach a sex offender  (05/06/2004)
  4. Sex Offender Becomes 'Kabbalah Coach'  (05/07/2004)
  5. Rabbi Michael Ozair Interview (05/12/2004)

  1. California Sex Offender Registry  (02/22/2005)
  2. Why We Choose Our Parents  (04/13/2005)
Rabbi Michael Ozair
  1. Kabbalah Coach: Love the One You're With  (01/23/2007)
  1. California Megan's Law Registry (06/25/2008)
  2. Sex-Offenders' Haven? Convicted Sex Offender Rabbi Michael Ozair Residing in Thailand, A Mecca of Pedophiles (07/15/2008)
  1. Rabbi Micheal Ozair is back on Facebook  (07/18/2012)
  2. Here we go again: Sex offender Rabbi Michael Ozair back on Facebook  (07/19/2012)

Other Cases Connected to Rabbi Michael Ozair
  1. Case of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach
  2. Case of Rabbi Marc Gafni
  3. Case of Rabbi Leib Tropper
  4. Case of Rabbi Gershon Winkler 

Six kabbalists reveal the substance behind the craze
By Julie G. Fax
Jewish Journal - September 28, 2000

Sitting at Rosh Hashanah services tonight and tomorrow, imagine that the liturgy's abstract ideas about the birth of the world, the fate of our souls, God's relationship to the universe - that all of these ideas were so real to you, you could actually see them and touch them and feel them.

For many, that attainment - even setting it as a goal - is a long way off, if it is ever to be. But for growing numbers of Jews who have turned toward exploring Jewish mysticism, the words are not unfathomable, but are the lexicon of their everyday associations with Judaism.

So it's fair to ask, is there anything there? What is it that is drawing in Jews and keeping them there?"What I am sensing is that we are living at a particular point in history when Jewish people are seeking more than the mere action of mitzvot, and would like to actually enjoy the journey of the Jewish commandments," offers Laibl Wolf, author of "Practical Kabbalah" (Random House, 1999). "It's a bit like charting a course of travel between two distant cities. You can take the most direct route on the main highway and that will get you there very quickly, or chart a course that runs along the coast and takes a little longer, but you gain great enjoyment from the journey."

Kabbalah takes the deepest existential questions - the nature of God and souls, the structure of the universe, the afterlife, the purpose of existence - and forces these abstract thoughts into a rigid and rational system that becomes so airtight, the disparate pieces so neatly interlocking, that it can't help but be astonishingly compelling.

To the kabbalist, for instance, the sound of the shofar is the crying of that unconscious part of your soul where your true self resides, where the distractions of body and living and life have not adulterated the true essence of you. Throughout the period of the High Holy Days, kabbalists teach, when the cosmic energies are aligned to be open to introspection and repentance, that part of your soul is yearning and begging to come out.

Or consider the kabbalistic vision of the birth of the world. The eternally existing God withdrew Himself to make room for physical creation, and in that process shattered, sending Divine sparks into every one of his children.

At the same time, kabbalah offers up a paradox to mainstream Jews, who, if they know nothing else about kabbalah, know that tradition holds that kabbalah is not to be touched until one is 40.

"Mystical tendencies have often been welcome as spiritual salve, as a source of comfort in times of personal and collective distress," noted David Myers, professor of history at UCLA, who moderated a panel on kabbalah last year. "And yet rabbinic authorities have often been reticent to embrace mysticism, fearful of its anarchic, nihilistic potential."

Especially with its New Age veneer today, kabbalah is often quickly dismissed as trendy, foreign, not really Judaism. And some of its practitioners, such as the worldwide Kabbalah Learning Center, seem ripe for media scrutiny (see sidebar, page 13).

But with the right teachers, in the right venue, an introductory dip into the study of kabbalistic concepts - just a wade, nowhere close to the deep end - can leave one with a sense that no matter how off-the-wall some components sound, taken as a whole, there is something solid and powerful there.

To research this article I initiated conversations with people in our community who make kabbalah the center of their lives. I did not conduct a thorough scholarly study, nor did I attempt to explore or list all the dozens of books, teachers, synagogues and organizations that either dabble in mystical teachings or make it central to their mission.

Rather, I let the story lead me from person to person, from teacher to student to healer to believer. Contrary to my presumptions, everyone I spoke with seemed sane and well grounded.

The journey took me to places I had never been in my 15 years of formal Jewish education and continuing informal study. And in classical Jewish fashion, the journey planted seeds I cannot get out of my head, seeds that leave me with more questions than answers.

But there is one thing of which I am convinced: It is a tragic farce that mainstream Judaism has left mysticism out of the canon, and thus removed from conversation its compelling insights into our relationship with the Divine, with each other, with our own selves.

The Scholar
What is kabbalah?
I pose the question to Dr. Pinchas Giller, author of the forthcoming "Reading the Zohar: The Canon of Jewish Mysticism" (Oxford University Press, due out October 2000) and a professor at the University of Judaism. His answer is very much like Giller's own interest in kabbalah: on the one hand scholarly, on the other hand deeply spiritual.

Kabbalah, or the field of Jewish mysticism, originates with the end of prophecy, around the second century, Giller says. The Zohar, a 2,000-page midrash in Aramaic that is the focal point of kabbalistic belief and practice, recounts the activities of a group of second-century rabbis in the land of Israel. When the Zohar was actually written down is the source of debate, with traditionalists saying that it originates with the students of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, one of those second-century rabbis, while current scholarship suggests it is a compilation of works from the second to the 13th century.

While the Zohar didn't emerge as a force in Judaism until the 12th and 13th centuries, Giller suggests kabbalistic notions were always present in Mishna and Talmud, the primary works of the Oral Law.

The 16th century witnessed the resurgence of kabbalah, with Rabbi Isaac Luria, known as the Ari Z'al, and his followers in the Galilee. Luria's mystical practices, beliefs and writing set into motion the forces that would lead to the kabbalistic foundations of Chassidism, the mystical moralizing of the Mitnagdim (the anti-Chassidists) and the rich and magical tradition of Sephardic kabbalists, who founded what are still today some of the most significant mystical dynasties.

Kabbalah, Giller explains, sitting at his dining room table over an array of open books, is an intricate and expansive web of symbols that are windows into how God's presence flows into the universe. Ultimately, this leads to an understanding of what the Torah and mitzvot really mean and a knowledge of each individual's specific function in God's world - their tikkun or mission of rectification.

Several different, and often conflicting, systems of kabbalah explain the nature of the universe and the divine flow. There are the 10 sefirot, the 10 conduits through which God manifests on earth and that are the building blocks of our souls. Those are connected by 22 two-way channels (corresponding to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet) into a structure known as the Tree of Life; there are the three levels of consciousness, the four worlds, the five visages, the 13 receptacles of mercy.

In all these systems, Giller says, "there is an underlying mythos of something very deep and profound going on beneath the surface of present reality, and that thing going on underneath is the real reality," Giller says. "The present reality is a dream, a shadow, just an illusion. And every so often, guided by the way you live and the things you have to do and the learning you do, you have an insight and you see things as they really are. That's the mystical life."

The mitzvot we do, the ethics we follow, our every action - no matter how mundane or profound - affects that metaphysical reality in a concrete way.

"You take an action and you say, my action is centering cosmic forces. It is not something as if, it's not to give me a warm, fuzzy feeling, it's not because this is just what Jews do. But the actual mitzvah is channeling forces which are beyond what I have in front of me," Giller says.

Giller says he himself was always drawn to kabbalah, but was pulled instead toward an intellectual, academic life of studying philosophy and classical Jewish texts. But while studying in Israel, "I just became overwhelmed by a certain emptiness that lay at the core, and at the same time I realized that kabbalah was really rising as the folk religion of Eretz Yisrael."

He began to do anthropological research, going to kabbalistic synagogues where meditational prayers started before dawn and lasted four hours. He visited grave sites of righteous people that were being turned into shrines by the hundreds of people visiting them, from the secular, urbane Dizengoff types to the Chassidic women from Mea Shearim.

The mystical devotion arising in Israel now is exactly the kind the secular Israeli government tried to repress in the early 1950s, publicly humiliating the mekubalim (Kabbalistic rabbis) and the masses of their followers from Arab and North African nations. While Chassidism brought a more accessible kabbalah to Eastern European Jews, much of this was repressed, too, after the Holocaust.

That's why Moshe Idel, a professor of kabbalah at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, who spoke at UCLA last year, says that rather than seeing today's trend as a revolution, it should be viewed as the reemergence of the true nature of religion, which was repressed for just a few generations.

He points to some great halachic thinkers - Rabbi Joseph Karo and the Vilna Gaon - who were mystics.Giller says the current highly intellectualized, rational focus of American Jewry is, in fact, not a comfortable or natural state for a religious group.

"Everybody else in the world has holy places, they have the notion of the soul, of meditation, of drawing down divine energy, of the Divine flow into the world - and the Jews say that's all pagan. But it's not, it's just healthy religion when religion is deeply felt," Giller says. American Judaism, he says, is "devotionally crippled" by its insistence on being purely rational.

But Giller also points out that while kabbalah can pose and answer so many of the questions of spiritual seekers, it also has a dark side.

"In kabbalistic terms, evil might be an incarnate presence," he says. Tumah, or ritual impurity, he says, might also be a palpable malaise. "It's not easy for modern people to deal with that."

He points to the renegade racist, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburg, a rabbi who studied kabbalah for 30 years in Kfar Chabad in Israel, who now teaches that gentiles have no souls.

Some kabbalists are ascetics, fasting and praying all day, fearful of unbridled sexuality.
The Zohar and other kabbalistic texts are dense and difficult, requiring not only a knowledge of Torah and Talmud, but familiarity with the mystical jargon and its nuances, with the cryptic and seemingly unending symbolism of every word and image.

With all that said, Giller, like so many others who have studied kabbalah, says he cannot fathom a Judaism devoid of the depth and devotion kabbalah provides.

"Philosophy can be end run by romance and aesthetics and art, and learning the Zohar is a kind of art," he says. Giller draws another analogy:

"Love is not wholly rational, and yet we accept it as the basis for the way people should make life decisions. Religious belief is nothing if not that. There is always an internal leap."

The Believer
Chaim Mekel thinks everyone should study the Zohar, starting as children.

"It says that whoever does not study the Zohar is putting a dent in the shechina [the divine presence]," he says.

And consider the converse.

"By being spiritual, being connected to the light force, to the Torah, you are connected to a metaphysical force that will protect you from harm," he says. And if apparent harm should come your way, "then it is not something bad, because you understand that is what you need to go through."

It is the power of ideas such as this one that gave Mekel, an internationally acclaimed artist, the strength he needed to recover from a serious car accident nine years ago and change the course of his life.

Mekel grew up as a secular Israeli. After achieving fame as an artist in Israel he moved to Los Angeles to gain a foothold in the American scene. He was successful. Today, his impressionistic works hang in museums, private collections - even in the offices of Sen. Ted Kennedy.

After the wake-up call of the accident, Mekel turned to the Kabbalah Center. He abandoned art and spent about eight years there.

"For me it was good," he says of the Kabbalah Center. "I studied a lot, I shared a lot, it gave me a lot of information and knowledge and love and caring." He left, he says, because it was simply time to go, to move on.

Today, he moves in the circles of Rabbi Yaakov Pinto, a descendant of the great Pinto family of mekubalim of Morocco.

Mekel wakes up at 2 or 3 every morning and goes to Pinto's Pico-Robertson area synagogue, where we meet this morning, Mekel still in tallit and tefillin. Every day he studies Zohar and spends a few hours praying.

He started painting again two years ago, and has an art gallery/framing store down the block from Pinto's beit midrash.

His paintings today - mostly impressionistic, peaceful landscapes - are a far cry from the work of his past, such as his "Heart of Darkness" study of Orson Welles.

"What I had with art is not even 1 percent of the light I receive from Torah and what I can share with people," he says. After every exhibit, he was left feeling deflated and depressed, whereas today, with great certitude, he understands the purpose of creation.

"Everything, including the Zohar, is just a tool for you to reach a level that sounds very simple, of v'ahavta l'reicha kamocha, love your neighbor as yourself," he says.

The trick is understanding yourself well enough to know your mission, which is something that can be helped along by studying kabbalah. The Zohar, he says, is the manna of the soul, and the only way to understand Torah.

Even without understanding the words, scanning the letter combinations in the Zohar, with their metaphysical powers, can open up channels of light into our souls, can promote harmony between body and soul, he says.

"I think that reading the Zohar - even if you don't understand, but just with your eyes - you will be so filled with light. You can be so happy."

But doesn't that sound too easy, like magic?

"Yes, it is magic, but it's white magic, it's good. Black magic uses the dark forces," he says. And, he adds with exasperated good humor, "What's so bad about magic?"

The Healer
If Rabbi Stephen Robbins weren't so clearly sane and coherent and sincere, it might have been tempting to tuck his notions away, labeling them as interesting but unlikely.
But his unconventional ideas, thoroughly and solidly explicated in his soft, soothing voice, seem not only possible, but empirically true.

He believes science and spirituality are one. He and his wife, Cantor Eva Robbins, have produced a Jewish meditational and healing tape that has taken people through major surgery without anesthesia and relieved the symptoms of cancer treatment. His therapy practice aims at healing mind, body and spirit. His laying of hands and subtle voice kept his daughter alive in the ICU as she struggled on the brink of death after a serious car accident.

We are sitting in his midcity office late at night - a small table fountain trickling in the background; African, Indian and Jewish art all around; artistic photos of his family on the wall. A massage table stands in the middle of the room, just in front of a shelf holding neatly lined up bottles of naturopathic remedies.Robbins and his wife founded and lead N'vay Shalom, a congregation dedicated to renewal. He holds rabbinnic ordination from Hebrew Union College and has two PhDs, one in neuropsychology and one in naturopathy.
His classes on kabbalah and Jewish meditation at the University of Judaism are always full.Robbins usually declines interview requests he says, and shuns the publicity. But tonight he is willing to talk and to teach.

The nature of kabbalah, he says, can be discerned by its very name, which means to receive."We are taught how to unveil God's presence, to draw it in, by being open to receiving. I think what Jews are hungry for is to receive. Jews for a long time have been asked to give, besides giving time or money or concern... they are told this is what is required, this is what God wants, without a sense there is something to receive," he says.
"What kabbalah is about is receiving, knowing about the nearness, the constant sense of God's presence and how each of us is a vessel for God's presence."

That knowledge, he says, "ennobles every person, it empowers every person to know that they have a sacred task to do. If you really accept that in your life that means that you live without having to try to prove anything... because you already know you are absolutely necessary and that you are a primary requirement for the development of this time and place."

With this foundation, Robbins uses unified approach combining psychological work, spiritual development and natural healing, all set on the underlying principles of kabbalah.
But, he cautions, anyone looking for quick cosmic fix to life's difficulties must understand that kabbalah is serious discipline, requiring study and commitment to introspection.

He himself was introduced to kabbalah as a child, he says, and though he was ordained in 1972 and studied for an additional 12 years, he started teaching mysticism only six years ago.

"We take the responsibility of this knowledge as both an honor and an enormous task to be handled with great care and patience, because of its preciousness."

The Woman
The study of kabbalah involves great awareness of the masculine and feminine. God's manifestations, the sefirot, are all gendered, giving male and female characteristics to all the symbols connected to the sefirot.Understanding how the masculine and feminine qualities balance in each person can be a valuable tool in the quest to determine one's purpose in the world, says Chana Weisberg, dean of Chabad's Machon B'nos Menachem in Toronto and author of the "Crown of Creation" (Mosaic, 1996) and "The Feminine Soul" (Mosaic, due out winter 2000), both of which offer mystical and Chassidic insights into contemporary and ancient women.

"If we look at God's breathing life into creation, God breaths in and breaths out. The outer direction is more male oriented - aggression and conquest. Woman is more inward focused, nurturing and protecting," she says.

Woman's purpose, she explains, is to bring holiness into creation, while man's purpose is to send holiness outward to God. "The male role is fighting negativity, whereas women's role is finding the godliness already impregnated in creation and making it shine," she says.

Shabbat, for instance, is feminine, while the work week is masculine. "All week long we fight nature and conquer nature by doing and creating. On Shabbat, it is time to absorb the blessings that have collected all week long."

She says it is only fitting, then, that it is specifically a women's mitzvah to bring holiness down to earth, into our homes, by lighting candles on Shabbat, whereas men bless the havdalah candle, ushering Shabbat out.

"We've become very wary of saying there is any difference between men and women," she observes. While every person at different times employs both feminine and masculine modes, "we have to be aware of what feminine is, so we can get strength and go further. 
We can not get joy or fulfillment out of life if we are not aware of what our role and purpose and missions and qualities are," she says.

The 20-40 post-high school girls in Weisberg's seminary all glean kabbalistic ideas through the study of chassidut, which she says is a legal obligation incumbent upon women, just as it is upon men.

"In order to love God and fear God, or have any relationship, you need to know who you are having a relationship with. That is what kabbalah and chassidut discuss," she says.

The body of work produced by the Chassidic masters, she says, "doesn't only take abstract ideas of kabbalah, it takes ideas that we can apply to our own lives. As a woman, I personally enjoy the study of chassidut, because it is not just theoretical knowledge, but can help make a better and more spiritual and more meaningful life."

The Freelancer
Even before I reach the stairs down to B'nai David-Judea's Gold Room, where Rabbi Michael Ozair teaches Mystical Wednesdays, my senses are tantalized. The usual smell of Shabbat morning kiddush - some vague mixture of tuna salad, marble cake and cholent - has been replaced by the New Agey smell of burning candles.

The chandelier is set on dim, and the candles are everywhere - on the floor, lining the walls, every few inches on the scarf-covered tables, configured in a horseshoe shape. In the center of the tables there are 10 candles, sitting in what appear to be fishbowls set on pedestals of varying heights. I find out later these represent the sefirot, the 10 aspects of God.

There are pillows and rugs set up in the back of the room, tea off to the side. About 50 people make themselves comfortable. Soft, airy music plays, and when class starts, Ozair, barefoot, wearing black pants and a loose coarse cotton shirt, bangs a gong.
A few days later, I ask Ozair about the set up.
Yeah, he admits, it's shticky, but for good reason.

"We're living in Los Angeles and the New Age is growing bigger and bigger, and it seems like every other religious or spiritual path has done packaging and marketing to the New Age community, to the spiritual seekers, except the Jews."

But, adds Ozair, it goes beyond marketing. The look of the gathering is so contrary to what people might expect from a traditional Jewish teacher, that it dispels preconceptions and stereotypes, allowing people to enter with an open mind.

And, at a more basic level, there is a lot to be said for setting a mood.

"I combine the teaching of kabbalah with guided imagery, accupressure, color and sound and music for healing. It is a multisensory experience," Ozair says of Mystical Wednesdays, which are sponsored by Olam Magazine.

Ozair, a disciple of Reb Shlomo Carlebach, is also a founder and leader of the Carlebach-style Happy Minyan, runs Shabbatons, teaches at Metivta: Center for Jewish Healing, and until last year taught at Shalhevet high school, where students voted him Best Teacher two years in a row.

Tonight, amid the flickering candlelight, we are ready to begin with some brief stretching, and then a meditation.

In his warm, smiling voice, Ozair guides us through focusing on the symbolism of the Hebrew letters and where, according to kabbalah, they correspond to the human body and to a behavior, which in turn corresponds to one of the sefirot, the aspects of God.

With those images in mind we do breathing exercises and mediations to expand our place of internal peace. We chant the word shalom (peace) to bring peace to ourselves, to others, to the world. If our head is tingling, we are doing the meditation right, Ozair intones. (I think my head is tingling because I am being asked to hold my breath for so long.)

When we are finally in the right mind, we look into the kabbalistic associations of Elul, the Jewish month preceding the New Year that is dedicated to teshuva (repentance).

The complicated edifice of symbols associated with the month is intricate and obscure, but at the same time self-contained, logically cumulative and so well-built there is nothing unstable about it. The outcome - a motivational and practical guide to teshuva - is compelling.

Ozair says he only occasionally includes real kabbalistic teachings in his classes.
"Most people who say they want to study kabbalah actually are just looking for a meaningful, deep, spiritual form of Judaism," he says. "When you teach real kabbalah you lose everybody, because it makes it more esoteric and confusing."

Ozair has discovered that his audience is interested not only in lofty spiritual paths, but in basic Judaism. Now, he also teaches introductory prayer classes, elementary Hebrew and basic Judaism.

Ozair believes the changes being effected by the surge in spiritual seeking will not leave mainstream shuls unaffected.

"I feel that what we are doing is innovative and will have an influence on the mainstream. It will have to, because there is a certain stagnancy that shuls fall into when they seek to serve the status quo," he says."But genuine religion should not look to serve the comfort level of people and be in harmony with the status quo, but see right through it and go beyond it with something much more beautiful and divine.

The Student
With his untrimmed beard and gaunt frame, hooded in a tallit, Rabbi Zechariah Shamayim-V'aretz is probably what most people have in mind when they think of a mystic.

He is standing at the door to his small home study, his hand on the mezuzah. We have just studied a piece of kabbalah which talks about the frame of mind one needs to be in when kissing the mezuzah. He is demonstrating it now, concentrating on the distinct qualities and strengths of the right and left sides of his body, and the holiness of God's name contained in the mezuzah, that can help fend off the demons that are at the left side of the doorpost.

f course, he says, he doesn't always spend five minutes in deep concentration when walking through a door.

Much of his life is run by the kabbalistic impulse. He often wakes up to study in the middle of the night. He meditates and goes to the mikvah every day. He doesn't eat much, just what his required to keep his body going. He wears white on Shabbat, to draw God's light in.

Shamayim-V'aretz (when they got married, he and his wife took on the last name, which means heaven and earth) has a few private students selectively chosen as people ready to commit not only to studying kabbalah, but to serious introspection and observance of mitzvot.

He himself is still a student, he says, and he is wary of those who call themselves masters of kabbalah."When teachers cultivate personality cults and adoration of themselves and their approach to kabbalah, God is getting eclipsed, and that is very far from what real kabbalah is about," he says.

His has been a long journey, from Modern Orthodox to yeshiva rebel to Brestlaver Chassid, with forays into yoga and psychology, before he stopped at mysticism.

He doesn't view mysticism as a cure-all to life's difficulties. He himself has been through years of therapy, something he says is necessary for the many people - teachers and students - who turn to kabbalah with loaded psychological portfolios.

"People attracted to kabbalah are usually people of spiritual sincerity, but typically spiritual sincerity goes along with a hefty amount of inner work necessary," he says. "Sometimes it's easier to learn kabbalah and practice kabbalah than to see one's blindspots."

He has harsh words, too, for those who call themselves teachers or students of kabbalah, but do not keep all the mitzvot.

"If persons are not even observing the most covenental aspects of Judaism, which requires the most minimal level of surrender and commitment and devotion, how can they throw themselves upon the highest rungs of spiritual aspiration?" he asks.

On the other hand, mainstream Judaism - of all denominations - could use an injection of kabbalah, at least of the more accessible ideas, as in chassidut. Without it, he says, Jewish practice can become meaningless.

"When I see what Judaism could be, and see what it is, it's very heartbreaking."


Charismatic Rabbi Faces Charges
By Wendy J. Madnick
The Jewish Journal of Orange - August 23, 2002

Rabbi Michael Ozair - Convicted Sex Offender
Michael Ozair is, by many accounts, charming, charismatic and an excellent teacher.
He is also in jail.
The once-popular instructor at schools like Shalhevet High School on Fairfax Avenue and Sinai Akiba Academy on Wilshire Boulevard, who was an active participant in the Happy Minyan at Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, was arrested earlier this month and charged Aug. 15 with the 1997 sexual molestation of a then-14-year-old girl. At press time, he was in custody at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles, with bail set at $95,000. A preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 4.
The complaint first came to the attention of the Los Angeles Police Department about a year ago, according to Lt. Dan Mulrenin, who oversees the LAPD's Sexually Exploited Child Unit.
"The reason it waited so long is because the victim was apparently in therapy and did not report this to the police until Aug. 22, 2001," Mulrenin said. "There is one additional victim, but that victim has refused to cooperate and does not want to pursue this matter." 
Police and prosecutors were guarded about who initiated the charges — three counts of a lewd act on a child and one count of oral copulation of a child under 16. Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, said that in general "when allegations of rape or sexual assault occur, the victims are taken to the hospital and there are a long list of questions they must undergo. With an older case, we have to have independent corroboration, someone who can testify. It cannot just be the word of the victim." Robison also mentioned that "by law, there are people who are mandated reporters [of sexual assault], including clergy. So if the victim were to tell a teacher or a therapist or a clergy member about the attack, [that person] would have to report it." 
Ozair, 33, could not be reached for comment and his attorney, Daniel Hustwit, did not return repeated calls from The Jewish Journal.
This is the third arrest of a rabbi charged with child molestation this year. What makes this case unique was the esteem with which Ozair was held by a variety of influential people and organizations. In addition to his involvement in the Happy Minyan (of which he was not the leader, members insisted, despite press reports to the contrary), Ozair led the Mystical Wednesdays program for OLAM for about a year, from summer 2000 until 2001. He was featured in an OLAM Magazine article titled "You Had Me at Shalom" (which characterized Ozair as "the cool, charismatic, ex-Dead Head and self-acknowledged Seeker of Truth") and in a June 2000 Jewish Journal article about an event called "Building Bridges of Spiritual Unity." Ozair also was scheduled to lead a Yom Kippur spiritual service at the Roxbury Park Community Center in Beverly Hills. 
Ozair's problems began to surface several years ago. In June 1997, the year of the alleged incident, he left his full-time teaching position with Sinai Akiba. It was not until September 1998 that he landed another teaching position, this time with Shalhevet. However, his employment was terminated for undisclosed reasons in August 2000, according to Shalhevet president Dr. Jerry Friedman. Ozair then returned to Sinai Akiba for a brief stint in early 2001, said headmaster Rabbi Laurence Scheindlin.
"He was coming once a week to do some work on tefillah with some of the classes," Scheindlin said. 
Both Friedman and Scheindlin stated that there were never any complaints about Ozair's behavior at their respective schools. Indeed, a number of people interviewed noted that parents and students at each school were fans of Ozair.
"To his credit, there are a number of students on whom he had a very positive influence at Sinai Akiba," said Rabbi Steven Weil, leader of Beth Jacob. "He launched them on a path of morality, decency and theological searching. Many of these young men have become outstanding stars in the community."
Despite the rabbi's popularity, Weil said leaders at his shul decided to expel Ozair last year.
"He was banned from Beth Jacob Congregation over a year ago by myself and by Marvin Komorsky, our executive director, because we felt he was a threat," Weil said. "We were concerned for the safety and well-being of certain individuals in the community."
Weil said he was saddened to see an organization like the Happy Minyan, which has operated out of Beth Jacob for about eight years, taken in by someone like Ozair.
"Because they are such a welcoming, open community, they attract people who are often needy or searching. Unfortunately, such people can often be taken advantage of," Weil said.
Although Weil declined to elaborate whom the congregation was protecting with Ozair's expulsion, some people close to Ozair have said that it was around the same time that Ozair's marriage fell apart and that his wife and children sought protection at a battered women's shelter. 
An incident last year might also provide some insight: According to Sgt. Steven Seeger of the Beverly Hills Police Department, Ozair turned himself in to that department on Aug. 15, 2001, and was briefly in custody on a probable cause warrant.
"This was in regard to a warrant issued for his arrest under Penal Code Section 422, making a threat, which means making a credible, criminal threat to do harm to someone else," explained Seeger, adding that an underlying crime report showed the initial complaint that led to the warrant involved a charge that Ozair had made a threatening phone call or calls. The case was dropped within days by the district attorney's office because of insufficient evidence.
(Several sources also questioned Ozair's credentials as a rabbi. Ozair's Web site states that "his rabbinical training was at Kol Yaacov Torah Center in Monsey, N.Y." However, administrators at Kol Yaacov tell a different story, saying he applied to the school and visited it in August 1997, but never enrolled. 
"He said he wanted to try it out, so he popped in for a couple of hours a week for about six weeks, but he was never officially accepted as a student," said Rabbi Leib Tropper, the school's educational director.)
Douglas Schiller, like other members of the Happy Minyan, was reluctant to discuss Ozair, who was one of the group's founders and mainstays.
"I can see easily why somebody would call him charismatic or a good teacher," Schiller said. "I think we're all surprised and saddened by what has happened."
Weil said it was important to see that it is possible for a person to have good qualities and still commit a crime.
"These people, the Baruch Lanners and the Michael Ozairs, are multidimensional individuals, which is why the Ozair incident has been very painful to many people whose lives he touched in a legitimate sincere way," Weil said.

Rabbi Charged With Molesting Girl, 14
LA Times - August 16, 2002 Friday
Home Edition - California Metro; Part 2; Page 4; Metro Desk 

A 33-year-old rabbi has been charged with sexually molesting a 14-year-old girl, the district attorney's office said. Michael Ozair pleaded not guilty to the charges last week. If convicted, he could be sent to prison for 10 years. 
Ozair is a former teacher at Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles and Sinai Akiba in Westwood, according to the district attorney's office. 
He has lectured and taught at several congregations in West Los Angeles and Venice, prosecutors said. 
The alleged molestation took place in June.

Rabbi Charged With Molesting A Student
Los Angeles District Attorney's Office - August 12, 2002
Contacts: Joe Scott, Director of Communications
Sandi Gibbons, Public Information Officer
Jane Robison, News Secretary
(213) 974-3525

LOS ANGELES – A 33-year-old Rabbi and former teacher at Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles has been charged with sexually molesting a 14-year-old girl, the District Attorney's Office announced Monday.
Deputy District Attorney Renee Korn said Michael Ozair (dob 1-4-69), a freelance rabbi in the Los Angeles area, has been charged with three counts of lewd act on a child and one count of oral copulation of a child under 16 in case No. SA046100. Ozair has lectured and taught classes as a rabbi with severall local congregations, including the Happy Minyan congregation in Beverly Hills, Metivta congregation in West Los Angeles, and Mishkon Tephilo Synagogue in Venice. In addition to teaching at Shalhevet, Ozair also was employed as a teacher at Sinai Akiba in Westwood up until 2001.
Ozair, who pleaded not guilty at his Aug. 8 arraignment, is scheduled to be in Airport Court, Department 145, on Sept. 4 for a preliminary hearing. Bail was set at $95,000.
Ozair is suspected of sexually assaulting the victim in 1997. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in state prison.

Who is Rabbi Michael Ozair
Roots and Wings 
Feb. 19, 2003

Rabbi Michael Ozair has served as an inspirational rabbi at the Happy Minyan of Los Angeles since its conception. Rabbi Ozair was mentored by the late Hasidic master, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and continues his teacher's path of tolerance and spiritual outreach. He is the founder of the Hidden Splendor and is a Jewish educator whose passion for the deep wisdom of Judaism and Kabbalah coupled with his compassion and sensitivity for all humanity has inspired many on the spiritual path. Currently, Rabbi Ozair's focus is with  OLAM (One Light for All Mankind) and leads theweekly Mystical Wednesdays gatherings among many other innovative projects.
 In the summer of 1998 Michael had received orthodox rabbinical ordination under Rabbi Yehoshua Reich of Efrat, Israel.  His rabbinical training was at Yeshivat Kol Yaacov in Monsey, New York.  His spiritual training came from his own extensive study, practice and personal inner journey.  
Convicted Sex Offender - Michael E. Ozair
As a pioneering teacher, Michael has given hundreds of workshops and classes on personal empowerment through simple and practical spiritual technologies, teachings and exercises, both ancient and current, Kabbalistic and New Age. Rabbi Ozair coaches others along their spiritual journeys toward greater happiness, health and realization.
When asked about his background, Rabbi Ozair explains that his roots are those of a Sephardi while his wings are those of a Hasid.  Through his father's side, Michael is a direct descendent of the Prophet Ezra of the Bible while also a descendent of  a long line of some of Babylon's greatest rabbis from the Talmud, and most recently included is the chief rabbi of Basra, Iraq who is his great uncle.  His hasidic wings come from his mother's side in Galicia, Poland and were returned to him through the inspiration of the Hasidic master, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach zt"l who was both a close friend and teacher of Michael for 14 years. Emulating his rebbe Shlomo, people find Michael incredibly sincere, approachable, inclusive, compassionate and one who speaks from the heart. 

Registered through: (
Created on: 10-Jan-04
Expires on: 10-Jan-05
Last Updated on: 22-Feb-04
Administrative Contact: ozair, michael ezra
3848 Overland Ave, Apt. 419, Culver City, California 90232

Meet Rabbi & Spiritual Coach - Michael Ezra 
R' Michael Ezra has been providing spiritual guidance for the last 15 years to a very wide and diverse range of people. He is an ordained rabbi, a well sought after scholar in the area of Kabbalah, published author, motivational speaker and spiritual counselor. Michael's expertise stems from merging his knowledge as a rabbi of metaphysics with his experience in practical counseling. 
Michael has been asked to speak in person to a variety of groups over the years and has also reached a wide audience through various television and radio appearances. He has positively influenced and helped reshape the lives of many people, including graduate students, people from the entertainment world, politicians, company presidents and CEOs.  While Michael is a rabbi, his language is Universal, and is held in very high esteem by highly regarded spiritual leaders from various communities. His articles have been featured in OLAM, the worlds largest Kabbalah magazine, with a circulation of over three million.
Michael's educational background includes:
  • Rabbinical ordination by R' Yehoshua Reich, a member of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. 
  • A fourteen year mentored relationship with R' Shlomo Carlebach, one the 20th Century's most influential Hasidic masters. 
  • Masters in Education from University of Judaism. Bachelors in Religious Studies.  Years spent learning in various yeshivas in Israel and New York.
Kabbalah Coach Webpage
Michael's Family Background:
In addition to the formal training Michael has had, he also comes from a long line of Rabbis and Kabbalists from Iraq, all the way from the Biblical Ezra the Scribe (origin of family name), R' Azaryah of the Talmud, his great uncle - the Chief Rabbi of Basra, and his grandfather who was ordained by Kabbalist, R' Yaacov Chaim (son of the reknown Kabbalist - the Ben Ish Chai).  
Michael Ezra's work today as a spiritual coach:
While in the past Michael was very active as a Jewish spiritual teacher teaching hundreds of classes and workshops, today Michael's private practice has turned towards helping the INDIVIDUAL reach their greatness through personal empowerment coaching and spiritual consultation.  His approach with clients consists of a very practical action-oriented way of coaching with a main focus on producing RESULTS. 
As a spiritual coach, Michael has created several unique ways for clients to understand their own "soul map" using Kabbalah tools, archetypal profiling, and various proven self assessment tests. Clients benefit by learning new ways of seeing themselves and all that is around them, enabling them to face the present and future with a new sense of confidence. 

The Same Man?
By Steven I. Weiss
Blog Spot - May 3, 2004 
L-R: Michael Ezra's homepage photo, Awareness Center's Ozair photo
Some intrepid readers have taken note of the link in Uri's post yesterday to a man who calls himself Rabbi Michael Ezra, the Kabbalah Coach, and declared that he looks similar to Rabbi Michael Ozair, listed on the Awareness Center's page for charges relating to sexual abuse of a minor. 
These readers have further investigated and found that the URL for Ezra's is registered under the name Michael Ozair. 
I spoke with the Los Angeles D.A.'s office this morning, and they told me that Ozair had pleaded no contest on November 5th, 2002, to one count of oral copulation of a person under 16. Among other things, he was sentenced to 5 years felony probation, 1 year in county jail, a mandated term of sex offender treatment, and is required to register as a sex offender. The D.A.'s office could not tell me whether he would be legally allowed to use an assumed name, though he likely would be allowed to so long as he's registered under his real name; they couldn't tell me at the moment how I could verify if he's properly registered as such. 
You'll note that the Awareness Center has already updated its page with the Ezra alias and his plea; those people are quick. 

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 1:30 PM | comment (0) Comment

The Kabbalah Coach has updated his site, too
By Steven I. Weiss
Protocols - Tuesday, May 04, 2004
The Kabbalah Coach has updated his site, too. Now it calls him "Rabbi Michael Ezra Ozair." That's the high speed of the Internet, man: Updates on blogs, updates at The Awareness Center, and updates at the Kabbalah Coach. Meantime, my dead-tree story for the Forward has to keep changing to keep up with the Web. posted by Steven I. Weiss | 4:26 PM | comment (0) Comment

Kabbalah coach a sex offender
JTA - Breaking News
Thursday, May 06, 05:25 p.m. ET 
A convicted Los Angeles sex offender is trying to teach Kabbalah. Michael Ozair, 34, who was sentenced in 2002 to one year in jail and five years probation after pleading no contest to having oral sex with a 14-year-old girl, is advertising himself as a "Kabbalah coach" who is a "spiritual guide and life coach combined," the Forward reported. Ozair told the Forward he only teaches adults, so there is "no problem."

Sex Offender Becomes 'Kabbalah Coach'
By Steven I. Weiss
Forward - May 7, 2004
Rabbi Michael Ozair
A convicted sex offender in Los Angeles has used an assumed name to market himself as a rabbi and Kabbalah instructor. 
Michael Ozair, who pleaded no contest to oral copulation of a 14-year-old girl in 2002, had until earlier this week been advertising himself as Rabbi Michael Ezra, the "Kabbalah Coach." 
The Web site, registered to Ozair, describes a kabbalah coach as, "a spiritual guide and life coach combined. A person who has the metaphysical tools to see what lies beyond the physical in your soul's journey while having the expertise to help you identify, map out and accomplish your life's mission." 
The site contains numerous quotations endorsing Ozair's work from a diverse list of individuals, including actress Tatum O'Neal and Pir Zia Inayat Khan, president of the Sufi Order International. 
Ozair's 2002 sentence, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, was for 5 years of felony probation, with 1 year in county jail. In addition, he was required to register as a sex offender and receive treatment. The D.A.'s office was unable to provide information confirming Ozair's registration as a sex offender. The office did tell the Forward that advertising under an assumed name would not represent a violation of Ozair's probation. 
In a phone interview with the Forward, Ozair said that he has not been instructing minors as part of his Kabbalah coaching. Asked if he intended to do so, Ozair replied: "Absolutely not." 
Ozair said that he sees no problem with his providing kabbalah services to adults. "If there's adults," he said, "there's no problem." 
Shortly after Ozair's interview with the Forward, the KabbalahCoach Web site was changed, with the instructor now being identified as Rabbi Michael Ezra Ozair. 
Ozair was initially charged two years ago with "three counts of lewd acts on a child and one count of oral copulation of a child under 16," according to the D.A.'s press release at that time. The press release noted that the Ozair was, "suspected of sexually assaulting the victim in 1997," and that Ozair had taught at two area schools and acted as a rabbi in several area synagogues. 
Marvin Komorsky, executive director of the Beth Jacob Congregation, which describes itself as "Centrist Orthodox," said that Ozair had led one of the synagogue's prayer services in 2002, but had been asked to leave before his arrest. According to Komorsky, Ozair "was not paid by the synagogue" and "his leaving the synagogue had nothing to do with his arrest," but was simply a matter of dissatisfaction with the kabbalistic focus of his teaching. 
Ozair's use of an assumed name was discovered by Internet users who saw his Kabbalah Coach photo and thought that they noticed a similarity to a picture of Ezra posted on, a Web site that maintains profiles of abusive rabbis. 
Ozair said that all of the endorsements on his Web site from celebrities and religious figures "are all old quotes" from before his arrest and subsequent decision to refer to himself as Michael Ezra. Asked if those endorsees were familiar with his arrest or knew of his Kabbalah coaching activities, he said, "I'm not in touch with anybody now." 
Ozair's credentials have come under question in the past. When he was arrested, the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles reported that his Web site stated that "his rabbinical training was at Kol Yaacov Torah Center in Monsey, N.Y." The Jewish Journal reported that administrators at Kol Yaacov said that "he applied to the school and visited it in August 1997, but never enrolled." An administrator at Kol Yaacov confirmed this version of events for the Forward through a secretary. 
The Kabbalah Coach Web site claims that Ezra received ordination from "R' Yehoshua Reich, a member of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel," but the Israeli-based rabbi could not be reached . 
The University of Judaism, a Los Angeles-based institution that offers Jewish studies courses, confirmed that it had awarded Ozair a masters degree in education and a bachelor's degree in religious studies from the University of Judaism. 

Rabbinic ordination papers

Rabbi Michael Ozair Interview 
By Luke Ford
May 12, 2004

I talk by phone with Rabbi Ozair May 12, 2004. He operates the website

In 2002, Rabbi Ozair pled no contest to one count of oral copulation in 1997 with a minor (a 14 year old girl who was not his student).

Contrary to some reports, at the time of the crime, Michael Ozair was not a rabbi.
Luke: "When did you receive semicha (ordination as a rabbi)?"

R. Ozair: "Fall of 1998."

Luke: "Tell me more."

R. Ozair: "I was involved with a small congregation in LA [Happy Minyan] and speaking every Shabbos and holidays and teaching. Rabbi Abner Weiss [head rabbi of Beth Jacob at the time] was my mentor rabbi. He suggested I get ordination. At first, it was going to be done in Israel, but it was going to be too expensive to live there. The next option was Monsey, New York. I went for an interview to [Kol Yaacov Torah Center] and was accepted. I was told it would be a year to a year-and-a-half for the basic semicha, taking into account my past years of Torah learning."

R. Ozair says he has a BA in religious studies from California State University of Northridge and a Masters in Education from the University of Judaism.

R. Ozair: "We flew the family [R. Ozair has two kids]. I learned in the yeshiva for a year. Then I got a job offer back in LA. I needed to cut short the semicha program to get the teaching job. I agreed to come back to LA if I could still be ordained privately. The yeshiva wouldn't ordain someone who left the program early. I made an arrangement to have a private ordination with Rabbi Yehoshua Reich from Efrat, Israel. I have the semicha at home. You're welcome to see it."

Luke: "I will come by and take a picture of it.

Luke: "According to Wendy J. Madnick's [8/23/02] article in the Jewish Journal, there were never any complaints about you at the schools you taught at."
R. Ozair: "Correct."

Luke: "The Wendy Madnick article says this criminal charge came to light through the girl's therapy. As I understand, the charge came to light through your therapy. You went to a brand new therapist and he took what you said in therapy and went to the authorities."

R. Ozair: "Correct."

Luke: "What should a religious community do to persons who've sinned like you did?"
R. Ozair: "First I would like to see an opportunity for rabbis on The Awareness Center's web page ( to make amends to the public if they choose, because as it is, reporters can say anything they want to, make assumptions and then it goes straight to print. Everybody makes mistakes – even reporters, and yes, even rabbis. Mine came out when I disclosed the information to a therapist who I did not know. He had a legal obligation to report me. There was not a moment that I was in denial that what I did was wrong. I managed to successfully destroy much of my life in a moment of absolute misjudgment that I deeply regret.

"What should the religious community do? In our tradition we have a teaching that states that before G-d even created the world, He created the idea of teshuvah. The Creator Himself knew that He was creating an imperfect world that would be subject to flaws, but that there should also be a way a person can return. If this is so, then there has to be a program for Jews to correct their ways. A way that they could tangibly demonstrate that they are committed to living a life of decency and are striving to become the person who G-d intended them to be. Beit T’shuvah seems to be the only program in the entire United States that gives Jews that opportunity. I feel blessed that I was able to do my teshuvah properly….What should the religious community do? That’s a hard one. They got the first part down – separating a person from the camp, as they did in the Torah. The question then becomes what are they doing to reintegrate a person back, as they did in the Torah."

Luke: "What sentence did you serve?"

R. Ozair: "I served two months in LA County Jail and a year at Beit Teshuva [similar to house arrest]."

Luke: "Regarding the Forward article, why did you use the name Rabbi Michael Ezra and why did you use the nickname Kabbalah Coach?"

R. Ozair: "I did not want to use my last name on the Internet for obvious reasons. I used "Rabbi Michael Ezra" because "Ezra" was added to my first name as part of my teshuva process. If you read the Jewish Laws of Repentence as outlined by Maimonidies, that one does a shinui [difference] with one's name. Add a name. Add a letter. I added "Ezra," which means help or assistance to my first name. I did this in front of about 35 people on Yom Kippur. About half a dozen other people also changed their name that day.

"I have a private practice as a life coach. For marketing reasons, it is good to create a niche. Most of my clients are looking for higher purpose in their lives. My coaching involves no kabbalah. Yet, the name was a nickname given to me by my clients. It stuck."

Luke: "Why did you take down your site"

R. Ozair: "It was attracting negative attention."

Luke: "How many people in your religious community, when the bad news about you broke, approached you to hear your side of things?"

R. Ozair: "Nobody in the religious community."

In the summer of 2004, Rabbi Ozair became engaged to be married.

Rabbi Michael Ozair was a former teacher of mine who was particularly skilled at reaching out to non-Orthodox Jews. I went to a dozen of his classes.

Rabbi Ozair was twice voted teacher of the year at Shalhevet High School before he was fired in the summer of 2000 (before the sex scandal broke) for allowing some senior students on a field trip to Mexico to buy a couple of beers on July 4th.

Debate Over Rabbinic Ordination
A letter dated September 9, 2004 purporting to come from Efrat Orthodox rabbi Yeshoshua Reich says he never gave private semicha (rabbinic ordination) to Michael Ozair.

Because I have heard that my name is being used dishonestly and in a way that is causing a desecration of the name of G-d in public.
I hereby notify interested parties:
I did not certify Michael Ozer [sic] to function as a rabbi.
The use of my name to describe him as a person who received certification as a community rabbi by me is false and a lie and must cease immediately.
Here's a copy of the private ordination Michael Ozair says he received from rabbi Reich in Los Angeles in the fall of 1998 (after an arrangement through Ozair's boss of the time Jerry Friedman of Shalhevet, with the awareness of rabbis Abner Weiss -- now at a shul in Westwood -- and Chanina Rabinowitz -- now a principal of a Torah academy in Melbourne?, Australia).

Rabbi Yehoshua Reich was a rabbinic advisor to Shalhevet prior to the arrival of rabbi Chanina Rabinowitz.

Michael Ozair studied for a year at Kol Yaakov in Monsey and then on his own for a few months before he was examined (written and oral) in Los Angeles by rabbi Reich.

Here's a comparison of the signatures of rabbi Reich on what Ozair says is his private ordination from rabbi Reich with the signature of rabbi Reich on his September 9, 2004 letter.

The private ordination that Michael Ozair says he received is the type of informal ordination folks such as rabbi Shlomo Carlebach gave to about a dozen people, including at least one woman. This type of ordination is traditional in such circles as the Chabad movement.

My Discussion With Jewish Whistleblower Over Michael Ozair
JWB writes: "Luke said months ago on Protocols that he had seen this “smicha” in Ozair’s home. So basically, I am taking Luke at his word that the first document is the “smicha” document Ozair is claiming to have received." 
No. I have never seen the original smicha document. All I have seen is this copy of the alleged smicha from rabbi Yehoshua Reich.

Rabbi Yeshoshua Reich
That this document is on hotel stationary argues to me for its authenticity. Someone who wanted to fake a smicha would put together something more official looking.

Rabbi Reich's alleged letter of September 9, 2004 claiming he never gave smicha to Michael Ozair came shortly after Ozair had written to him seeking forgiveness for having tarnished his name through his sin.

JWB writes: ""Michael Ozair studied for a year at Kol Yaakov in Monsey" Is an outright lie."

Last May, I spoke to an Orthodox rabbi who was at Kol Yaakov at the same time as Ozair and confirms that Ozair studied there for several months. This rabbi, to the best of my knowledge, is not a friend of Michael's and has no reason to lie.

Here are the names of people who I am told can vouch for Ozair's attendance at Kol Yaakov: Rabbi Pinchos Dovid Orenstein, rabbi Sam Intrator (formerly of the Carlebach Shul, he recieved his semicha from the same Yeshivah/rabbi right before Michael did, since R. Leib Tropper is a cousin of Shlomo Carlebach), Nachman Futterman (resident of Monsey, big supporter of the Yeshiva) Dovid Moshe of Pompano Beach, FL.

While Ozair lived in Monsey, he was the co-administrator of the Reb Shlomo Carlebach List (Shamash).

Michael Ozair wrote Dec 5, 1997 on the List:
So glad to have finally joined the chevre on the Net. Let's spend less time as baalei machloket and more time in connecting to what we have in common, that is, celebrating the legacy of who our great rebbe was, is and ever shall be. 
As a fairly new resident in Monsey, NY (and one of the founders of the Happy Minyan in Los Angeles), I want to share two interesting incidents that happened this morning. First, my Rosh Yeshivah, Reb Leib Tropper called all the yeshivah students in for some pretty heavy duty mussar after having heard that somebody had made a derogatory remark about Reb Shlomo Carlebach. The Rosh Yeshivah was FURIOUS and gave a very firm warning to the entire yeshivah, threatening expulsion. He stated clearly that there was a cherem against those who make any kind of derogatory remarks about one who has passed away. Although, not all the rabbis of this yeshivah think very highly of Shlomo, the Rosh Yeshivahs eyes instantly fill with tears at the mention of Shlomo's name. I should also note that every Friday night, the entire davening is Shlomo's nusach and is one of the most simchadik minyanim for Monsey standards. Also, I went to Tuvia's bookstore, the largest Jewish bookstore up here, to purchase a few seforim, when lo' and behold, right up there, hanging on the wall, along side all the big rebbes and Torah giants, was not one, but three pictures of our Rebbe Shlomo Carlebach, zt"l. I should also note, Shlomo was the only one smiling. 
Anyways, here is Part I of an article Neilah [Shlomo's widow] had written on Reb Shlomo's life and legacy for The Happy Minyan's newsletter, Kol Sasson. More articles, torahs and goodies will be on the way!

David Saloff writes on the List Dec 21, 1997:
Subject: Michael Ozair
Michael Ozair has agreed to share responsibility with me for the ongoing administration of the Reb-Shlomo list. Our list administrator liases with Shamash, screens new subscription requests, and, when called on, tries to nudge our list conversation into a somewhat orderly and topical direction. One of the founding members of the Happy Minyan of L.A., Michael served as its spiritual director for two years. Currently a rabbinic student at Yeshivat Kol Yaakov and teacher in Rockland County, New York, Michael is also Yankele Shames' (from the Moshav) son-in-law. Those who know Michael will recognize the unusual talents and experiences that he will bring to this job.

List Administrator Dovid Staloff wrote on Sat Jul 25 21:56:06 1998:
Dear chevreh 1) I have received many emails and phone calls over the past several months, begging me to do whatever i can to stop any discussion of the "lilith" topic our list, even shutting down the list completely. until today, i simply answered that i hoped we could provide space for all the broken neshamas to share what is on their hearts... surely by now anything needed to be said on the topic has been said already. 
Rabbeinu taught us to be open with our passion. At the same time, once the immediacy of the passion has cooled, not to hold on to the stuff, not even for a second... this topic has completely run its course. even its participants have said they want to create a separate group to carry on the discussion... so be it! if you are pro-lilith, con-lilith pro-shlomo anti-shlomo, whatever, the time has finally come to take it elsewhere. please don't come back here with it next month, or next year either. thank you. 
2) michael ozair is now completing his smicha requirements and moving to the west coast to assume a new position. michael told me he no longer has the time to participate in the list. we approached several people we considered suitable replacements, but nobody is available. i myself do not have the time, or the interest, to monitor the quality of the discussion all by myself. neither do i feel it is fair for myself or any other individual to take on such responsibility. it's simply not fair to the individual, not fair to the list... what is fair is for everyone who choses to subscribe to our list to equally assume this responsibility.

JBW: "...[A] well sought after scholar in the area of Kabbalah..."
He has certainly been a popular teacher of Kabbalah and many people have sought him out for his expertise in this. Michael Ozair was a leader for years at the Happy Minyan and he's taught dozens of well-attended classes in Judaism and Jewish mysticism. I know this from my first-hand experience at these events.

I believe that Michael Ozair ran with Shlomo Carlebach and company for years.

Here's the website of rabbi Yehoshua Reich's yeshiva in Israel. It confirms he was at Shalhevet as Ozair claimed.

Did rabbi Yehoshua Reich testify in front of others about Ozair's semicha? Only one person claimed this on Protocols and no names of who was present were given.

Rabbi Reich's letter of denial does not say that he never gave Ozair semicha. For one, he misspells Ozair's name as "Ozer." Rabbi Reich says in his letter that he never gave Ozair semicha to work as a community/congregational rabbi. He was specific in what he was denying. JWB may have a point that this sort of semicha was just one to teach or do kiruv (outreach). Rabbi Reich may indeed have protected himself in detailing WHAT he was denying.

Rabbinic ordination was not something Michael Ozair sought. Rather, it was something that was pushed on him by Jerry Friedman, and rabbis Chanina Rabinowitz and Abner Weiss.


California Sex Offender Registry
Feb. 20, 2005
Last Name: OZAIR     First Name: MICHAEL Middle Name: Ezra
1. Description
Michael Ezra Ozair - Sex Offender's Registry
Last Known Address: 90034
Zip Code 90034
Date of Birth: 01-04-1969
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 190
Eye Color: BROWN
Hair Color: BROWN
Ethnicity: WHITE
2. Offenses
3. Scars/Marks/Tattoos
4. Known Aliases

Why We Choose Our Parents
by Michael Ozair
Spiritual Network - April 13, 2005
(Please note that Michael Ozair was a convicted sex offender on the California sex offender registry at the time of the publication of the following article)
Prepared in collaboration with OLAM Magazine. Please distribute freely for non-commercial purposes.
The Kabbalah teaches that souls arrive here in this world with a very specific curriculum containing both many of both your goals and challenges. Your parents and the families you are born into are a big part of that program. Find out why...
There is a concept in Jewish mystical thought known as gilgul, which can be translated as reincarnation. Gilgul does not necessarily mean that a soul in its entirety has been reincarnated; it may only be a nitzotz, or spark of a soul, that is reincarnated. That is to say that an individual can possess a nitzotz from the soul of someone who has lived previously. Gilgul occurs when the preceding incarnation of that soul has more to accomplish.
Rabbi Menashe Ben Israel of the 17th century writes that the word, gilgul, in Hebrew letters equals the numerical value of 72, which is also chesed, the Hebrew word for kindness. When this type of numerical connection occurs,it implies a conceptual relationship. In this case, reincarnation is seen as the ultimate kindness, in that a soul is given another chance for the refinement of its past and the spiritual advancement of its future.
Ultimately, a soul can never fail. To succeed, the soul will come back as many times as necessary to fulfill its spiritual mission. This is the view of the Kabbalists, who call the process of the soul's returning for the purpose of rectification tikkun, or repair. Sometimes it is discussed as the birur hisaron, or the clearing of a shortcoming.
If greatness is your soul's destiny, then to achieve it, it's only logical that you have a plan. Just as you would not head off to college without knowing about the school you'll be attending, souls do not randomly incarnate into this world. Rather, souls arrive with a very specific curriculum containing both goals and challenges. Your parents are a big part of that program.
It is in this respect that the Hasidic master Rabbi Yisrael of Rhizin teaches that our souls choose our parents. While the reasons for a soul's choice of parents will vary, it is always significant. Reasons can include past life relationships, or simply the conducive environment that the parents can provide for the soul in achieving its overall goal.
In a broad sense, your parents are the guarantors of your mission. How this works is different in every case. One possibility is that your parents will provide positive mentoring, as guides and as a support system. Another is the opposite - that they will model for you what you do not want to become and thus clarify the positive direction in which you need to go. For many it is a combination of the two. The key is to know that directly or indirectly, your parents create the fire behind your passion to grow toward your spiritual advancement.
Here is an exercise to help you find out what your purpose is in this world and what role your parents are playing in it. Ask yourself these three questions:
1. Regardless of what I do for a living and what my obligations are, what is the theme that most obviously is pushing my soul forward in life, day after day?
2. What is the one theme that best describes the force pulling my soul off track day after day?
3. What role have my parents played, directly or indirectly, in developing these themes?
Why bother looking at these themes at all? Because through them we can discover the real reason we chose to come here this time around, and as an added bonus, we may discover why we chose our parents to raise us. Ultimately, the biblical commandment does not obligate us to love our parents, but to honor them. Honor in Hebrew is kibbud, which literally means "to make heavy". To honor our parents means to acknowledge them as people of tremendous worth in our pilgrimage of life. It demands effort and often requires a tolerance for emotional pain, yet it is the most dignified endeavor of an entire lifetime.
Rabbi Michael Ozair has been providing spiritual guidance for the last 15 years to a very wide and diverse range of people. He is an ordained rabbi, a well sought after scholar in the area of Kabbalah, published author, life coach and spiritual counselor. Michael's expertise stems from merging his knowledge as a teacher of metaphysics with his experience in practical counseling. He can be reached at or by visiting his site at

Kabbalah Coach: Love the One You're With
Posted by: Michael Ozair
Articleberry - Tuesday, January 23rd 2007 09:37:00 PM
(Please note that Michael Ozair was a convicted sex offender at the time of the publication of the following article)
Every one of us came to the planet to figure out how to experience love in the human form. It is amusing to observe all the ways we try to find love, especially since most of us don't even know what we are doing. But Love does exist. To truly recognize it, one must be willing to understand that it comes in many forms and in many ways. It only then makes sense to begin with who you are and where you are, on the life journey.
Love the one you are with. Whether you are around others or not, it doesn't matter. The "one" that you must begin loving here is yourself. A big part of this self love, is in remaining loyal to your life journey for what it is. It is your soul's curriculum, unique to your own divine unfoldment..
Unfortunately many religious and cultural programming has led us to believe that focusing on ourselves is selfish. Obviously narcissistic, egomaniac behavior is not proposed. Neither is self-negation and self-abuse. If you need an excuse to transition yourself into the self-love mode, imagine that how you treat yourself impacts the lives of others. When you treat yourself poorly, others suffer too. Your pain creates pain in the collective energy we share. Everyone gets a dose. When you treat yourself well, others benefit. We are all share the same world, collective consciousness and universe. Self-love therapy for ourselves heals us all.
The Challenge of "Self Love"
One of my great spiritual teachers, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, once challenged a group of us to attempt to love ourselves as much as we love G-d. "Loving G-d is the easy part", he began, "but the real challenge is whether you can feel the same love you have for G-d, towards yourself". I remember half the room of people who were there were completely speechless by this statement, because of both the simplicity of the teaching, yet the profound truth it was revealing at that moment to many of us. There was no question of how much we loved G-d, but the idea of loving ourselves with as much desire and yearning that we felt for Spirit felt both challenging and revealing. An idea that needed time to digest and explore.
In working with many people, both as a rabbi and a life coach, I have found that the idea of "self love" doesn't come easy for most people. In fact, most people practice "being good to themselves" or refrain from "beating up on themselves" and that one day is considered "generous" or "progress". This is because it is harder to see ourselves as we really are - standing in the Light that is our birthright, than to see it in others.
Why is this so?
Self is not a static "thing" that you are cherishing. Self is an energy that is alive, in constant flux and motion. It is a localized expression of an Overall Supreme Being. What we are is a Self that is dynamic, but in a body that is physical, temporal and a "thing". And that is what creates the confusion. The Self is a verb (an action). While the body is a noun (static identity - person, place or thing). The difficult we often have with "self love" is when it is a noun we are seeking to love. When we seek a some "thing" to love, an it just doesn't feel right, and so we turn away thinking, "I'm having a hard time loving myself", "I'm not sure how", or "I just don't feel like its working".
Once we understand what the concept of "Self" is it will be much easier to practice "Self love".
I Am That I Am
Mystics love to remember when Moses, standing before the burning bush in his moment of Divine Encounter, asks in whose Name he is to act. It is here that G-d speaks the Sacred Name, E-heye Asher E-heye, I Am That I Am; and we have from then on the closest thing we will ever have for G-d's name for Itself, a statement of unconditional being.
I Am is a statement which is constrained by no description whatsoever. It not only is a completely open-ended subject, but can actually function as a verb. E-heye Asher E-heye, while commonly translated as I Am as I Am, is literally translated from the original Hebrew as "I Am Becoming as I Am Becoming". In other words, it is a verb in motion, changeless yet ever-changing, formless yet ever-evolving in the infinite and multi-faceted expressions of Creation. It is something we can sense and experience to some degree, but never completely apprehend its infinitude.
We might remember that the sacred name of I Am is our essential name as well. If we remember that the Divine Nature is our nature, then we know that the Divine Name is our name as well, only we condition this name by our own unique and individual characteristics. When I introduce myself and say, "My name is Michael," I am conditioning the unconditioned with my own personality.
However, just as we condition the unconditioned, we can also slip the bounds of personality and rest again in unconditioned-ness, in the peace, power, and love that is G-d within us. Then we are remembering the true sacredness of our being and, for a time, reveling in the Nature that heals and inspires us.
Affirmation for this Moment
I am at peace; I am creative; I am the beloved place where G-d stands forth in the world as myself. Knowing who I am, I revere and honor the sacredness of my being every time I speak my own name. My name reminds me that my nature is Divine and that I have a magnificent inheritance in front of me. It is joyful for me to know who I truly am.
The Most Effective Place to Begin
We can begin to put self love in action by loving where we are at on the Journey. But the secret to doing this step right is that loving where we are at must also include loving all our present obstacles. While the idea seems odd at first, and often contrary to what we may really be feeling, it is one of the inevitable gates we must enter in order to restored to true wholeness.
The key here is allowance and acceptance of your Self. This means accepting your entire HUMAN SELF, with all its parts, desirable or not. It is not until we accept our human selves that our Divine Selves can emerge.
From a Coaching Perspective - What this step is about
Most of us have experienced feeling stuck, overwhelmed or just confused, in one way or another. It can be related to a very specific project (e.g. experiencing writer's block). Or It can be a more complex situation, like deciding whether it is time to end a relationship or not. Often it can also be more all encompassing -- a general sense of "stuckness" that colors all of life.
Until you acknowledge, accept and appreciate where you are in your life right now, you won't truly be able to move on. That is all this step is saying. Many successful coaching approaches demonstrate that spending too much of one's time in solving problems is rarely satisfactory in the long-term, and instead we should focus on what we want to create. We ALL create, everything from good relationships, to successful meeting outcomes, to careers, and yes... music, paintings, inventions, sculptures and books. But the importance of acceptance first, before we create, will enable us to create our goals freely as opposed to allowing our conflicts to fuel our need to "run away from".
Why this step is important
  • When you're fighting against where you are, you're automatically stuck.
  • When you love where you are, you stop spending all your energy trying to escape. You can get rid of what's bugging you. You find clues about what direction to take.
  • The paradox: once you love where you are, you'll start to move. Guaranteed.
  • What will your life look like when you love where you are?
  • You feel an incredible sense of relief — there's nowhere you have to "get to".
  • There'll be less junk: junk things, junk behavior.
  • You develop more appreciation for the people in your life.
  • You begin to notice opportunities embedded in your situation. You cultivates a deeper sense of self-knowing, awareness and sensitivity.
  • Begin to release resistance and fear.
  • You allow the creative feminine flow of energy.
Two mistakes we all make when beginning this step:
Trying to figure out "what to do", when you don't need to do anything at this first initial step.
Judging your present life as bad or wrong. NEVER put a value judgment on where you are at on the Path. Even when it is challenging, avoid the word, "bad" or "evil". Perhaps use terms like, "difficult", "challenging", etc.. Better yet, begin looking at your life in terms of seasons. If its a "winter" time in your life, that means you are SUPPOSED TO be hibernating, cocooning, metamorphsizing, etc.. When its spring again, you will know it. See life for what it is, in all its changes and cycles, without feeling compelled to put a value judgment on it.
AMEN = Affirmation and Acceptance
"Amen" is the archetypal biblical response of affirmation and acceptance. It appears thirty times in the Hebrew Bible, and always carries nuances of truth, trust and reliability. Whether it was used as a response to curses or blessings, to prayers of praise and thanks, or to prayers of petition, it expressed the speaker's endorsement of the preceding statement or event.
The Hebrew Bible records an interesting event where six of the tribes of Israel ascend Mount Gerizim, the other six tribes of Israel ascend Mount Eybal, while the priests, Levites and Holy Ark remain below between the mountains. The Levites turn first towards Mount Gerizim proclaiming the blessings and then towards Mount Eybal proclaiming the curses, and with each pronouncement the Israelites atop the mountains respond Amen BOTH to the blessings and the curses !! (Deuteronomy 27:12 B.T. Sotah, ibid., , Rashi ad loc).
Metaphysical Principle:
When you begin to love where you are at, and even bless the "enemies" that come along the Path, they have no hold on you.
While loving ourselves is often something that is easier said than done, we can always begin cherishing where we are at, regardless of circumstances. This frees up the energy to move forward, but most importantly, we begin to appreciate the time with spend with ourselves along the way, and through each season. Our journey becomes a lot more like an adventure to live, than a crisis to be solved.

California Megan's Law Registry
June 25, 2008
Rabbi Michael Ozair - California Sex Offender Registry

Description        Offenses        Scars/Marks/Tattoos                      
Known Aliases
Last Name: OZAIR                     First Name: MICHAEL                         Middle Name:

Last Known Address:
Zip Code
Date of Birth: 01-04-1969
Sex: MALE                              Ethnicity: WHITE
Height: 6'0"                            Weight: 200
Eye Color: BROWN                   Hair Color: BROWN
SVP: NO                                ORI:
FCN:                                    OLN:
Last VCIN                              Event Date: 05/02/2007
More complete information is available by accessing the Violent Crime Information Network (VCIN) data base.

Sex-Offenders' Haven? Convicted Sex Offender Rabbi Michael Ozair Residing in Thailand, A Mecca of Pedophiles.
By  Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC, NCC
The Awareness Center - July 15, 2008
Sex offender Registry Photo / Facebook Photo

Towards the end of May, a member of The Awareness Center happened to stumble upon convicted sex offender, Rabbi Michael Ezra Ozair's Facebook account.

When I was informed I immediately looked at Ozair's site. I was stunned to see that most of his "friends" appeared to be teenage girls from Thailand, China, Israel and a few from Los Angeles. Rabbi Ozair did have a few adult friends listed (mostly male), several of whom were individuals in which The Awareness Center had been watching, due to worrisome information about them.
Considering Michael Ozair is a convicted sex offender and it appeared that he might be using his Facebook account to groom teenage girls, a report was made to the IC3 (The Internet Crime Complaint Center). 
The fact that removing an account from Facebook is not the answer to the real problem, because Ozair -- like many other convicted sex offenders can easily create another account using another name within in minutes of an account being terminated. Nonetheless, it was hoped that his account closing would send a message that his behavior was being monitored.
Over the last few months several newspaper articles stated that Facebook had a policy that convicted sex offenders were not allowed to have an account with them. A note was sent to facebook with all the necessary information. At the time I thought the problem would be solved easily. I was wrong.
The next day I received a note back from Facebook asking for more information regarding Michael Ozair and was asked for a direct link to the sex offender registry in which he was listed. I went to both the California and National sex offender registry -- Michael Ozair was not listed. I had no idea what was going on and started to dig. After several phone calls and e-mails to law enforcement in Los Angeles, I learned that Ozair was no longer listed in a way in which he was easily found. Each state has its own protocols in how their registry works. Unfortunately, since Michael Ozair is currently registered as living outside the United States -- in Thailand, his profile is not easily accessed.
Convicted Sex Offender, Rabbi Michael Ezra Ozair in Thailand
My contact at the LAPD forward Michael Ozair's most updated registration to both the contact at Facebook and to me. I thought this would be all that was needed and Ozair's account would be closed.
I didn't hear anything for a few days and kept checking to see if Ozair's account was removed. The entry was still there. I recontacted Facebook and they stated there was some technical difficulties with the police officer's e-mail and that the officer would need to send the information to a different e-mail address and was asking for more information besides a copy of the sex offender registration.
On July 3, 2008, I finally received a note stating "After reviewing the reported abuse, we have removed all offending content based on our Terms of Use."
If it weren't for the many hours communicating with Facebook and the LAPD, Michael Ozair's account would have remained open -- Meaning this convicted sex offender would have maintained full access to teenage girls on Facebook. 
I'm still bewildered with the reality that a convicted sex offender would be allowed to move to Thailand, especially considering it is known to be a haven for sexual predators. It's also known as one of the worst countries when it came to the human sex slave trade. 
Rabbi Michael Ozair's case shines a light on a deeply worrisome phenomenon -- several American convicted sex offenders are moving to places like Thailand, China, India, Israel, etc. -- all known Mecca's for child predators to most likely continue creating more victims. As Americans we need to be concerned with not just the safety of our children, but the children of the world. Without a federal policy in place, American sex offenders will continue with this trend.

Rabbi Micheal Ozair is back on Facebook
July 18, 2012 


Here we go again: Sex offender Rabbi Michael Ozair back on Facebook
The Examiner - July 19, 2012
By: Vicki Polin
View slideshow: Convicted sex offender Michael Ozair on Facebook
Ozair on FB:

The Case of Rabbi Michael Ozair:

Rabbi Michael Ezra Ozair, who was once known as "the Kabbalah Coach to the stars" is a convicted sex offender -- who relocated to Thailand, a country known to be a mecca for sexual predators. Back in 2002 Ozair plead no contest to one count of oral copulation with a person under the age of 16. The girl was only 14-years-old at the time. He was sentenced to 5 years felony probation, spent 1 year in a county jail, was mandated to sex offender treatment and was required to register as a sex offender. Yet, Michael is a brilliant man, he like many others realized if they no longer reside within the United States, the sex offender registry becomes a moot point -- and their names are removed.
July 18, 2012 -- Michael Ozair's on Facebook
Back in 2008, I was notified that Rabbi Ozair had a Facebook account. I immediately notified Facebook. Because he had relocated out of the country, his name had been removed from both the California and National Sex Offenders Registry. Because of that it was difficult to get Facebook to close his account. With the help of various individuals at both the California’s States Attorney’s office and the Los Angeles Police Department, his account was finally closed.

Recently, I was notified that Rabbi Ozair recreated another Facebook account which has been up for some time. Once again, because Ozair’s name does not appear on any sex offender’s registry it is difficult to have his account removed.

Facebook is trying to make their services safer for kids. Earlier this week it has been made public that social networks, such as Facebook use high tech software to scan for sexual predators. It’s great that this type of software has been created, yet the fact is that this type of software only works if the suspected offender actually uses the social media sites to actually meet up with unsuspecting children. In reality, offenders usually find their prey on the sites and get them using private e-mail or other more encrypted sites for grooming.

Back in 2008, Michael Ozair was new to using "Social Media" sites. At that time he did not know to make his Facebook page private. His site was public and it was easy to see that he majority of his friends were girls who appeared to be ages 12 - 15. Because Ozair has become more sophisticated over the years, he has to used the privacy preferences -- so that no one can see who he’s connected to or what he's doing.

According to Facebook policy, convicted sex offenders are prohibited from using Facebook. Once they are able to verify a user’s status as a sex offender, we immediately disable their account and remove their account and all information associated with it.

Facebook accepts the following forms of documentation to verify someone's status as a convicted sex offender:

Link to a listing in a national sex offender registry
Link to an online news article
Link to a court document
Documentation verifying the report attached to the sex offender report form
If you are unable to provide documentation, Facebook recommend that you ask a local law enforcement representative to contact us so we can take action on your report.

If you have encountered an account that may belong to a convicted sex offender, please report it and Facebook will review the information. You may also want to report this information to your local police department and to the national sex offenders registry.

To report a sex offender on Facebook use this link:


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