|Rabbi Jacob Max - Convicted Sex Offender|
Rabbi Emeritus, Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah Hebrew Congregation - Baltimore, MD
Trustees Committee, Ahavas Yisrael Charity Fund - Baltimore, MD
Liberty Jewish Center - Randallstown, MD
- Court Convicts Rabbi Jacob A. Max Of Molestation (04/13/2009)
- Local Rabbi Found Guilty of Sex Offense (04/14/2009)
- Rabbi convicted of sex offense (04/15/2009)
- Prominent Rabbi Convicted Of Molesting Woman At Funeral Home (04/15/2009)
- Rabbi, 85, found guilty of fondling woman (04/15/2009)
- Md. rabbi convicted of sexually molesting woman (04/15/2009)
- Rabbi Jacob Max declines appeal after sexual offense conviction (05/13/2009)
- Baltimore rabbi convicted of sexual offense (05/16/2009)
- Rabbi Kamenetsky's Unfortunate Comments (07/21/2011)
- Rabbi Jacob A. Max - Death Notice (08/09/2011)
- Rabbi Jacob A. Max, influential Baltimore religious leader, dies (08/09/2011)
- Baltimore Rabbi Jacob Max Dies at 87 (08/10/2011)
- Rabbi Jacob Max Dies, Leaves Mixed Legacy (08/11/2011)
- Rabbi Max "Lives" On (08/12/2011)
Baltimore Jewish Times - April 14, 2009
|Convicted Sex Offender - Rabbi Jacob Max|
The verdict given by Baltimore County District Court Judge Nancy Purpura resulted in one year of incarceration suspended and one year of court-ordered unsupervised probation.
Rabbi Max's attorney said the long-time spiritual leader will appeal the verdict, for which he entered a not-guilty plea.
Rabbi Max, 85, is the rabbi emeritus of the Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah Hebrew Congregation, better known as Pikesville's Liberty Jewish Center. A polished stone in the congregation's parking lot designates it the Rabbi Jacob A. Max campus. He is a well-known figure in Baltimore Jewish circles, where he has been active for more than six decades.
"We are very sad about all of this," Robert Meyerson, president of the synagogue, said on Tuesday, April 14. "I guess we just have to wait and see how the appeal process progresses. Even though he's our rabbi emeritus, we just hear from him from time to time, and we were as surprised about all of this as everyone else."
The fourth degree sex offense means that the "defendant had sexual contact with the victim and that the sexual contact was made against the will and consent of the victim," according to County Assistant State's Attorney Jared Green, who prosecuted the case.
The victim, 44, was molested at the Levinson's Funeral Home in Pikesville in a kitchen at the facility.
Rabbi Max, according to a Baltimore County Police report obtained by the BALTIMORE JEWISH TIMES, approached the victim from behind and "proceeded to press his body up against the victim's body pinning her between the defendant and the counter."
The report stated that he then took his hands and grabbed the victim's hips on the outside of her clothing. He "then removed his hands from [the victim's] hips and placed them directly on the victim's upper torso on the outside of her sweater directly beneath her breasts."
The police then report that the victim heard Rabbi Max "mumble something about `being bad'" and that she then felt Rabbi Max's hands "so close that the web of his hand at the pointer finger and thumb was actually on her bra and the bra's under wire."
The victim then protested by pulling her arms inwards tightly to her torso, according to the report. Rabbi Max reportedly stepped away. Between 10 to 20 seconds later, the report said that he returned to the kitchen and repeated the same behavior on her.
"Defendant Max then took his left hand and cupped [the victim's] left breast and with his thumb and finger pinched [the victim's] nipple through her sweater. Defendant Max then stated, `bad rabbi.'
"It ended when the victim yelled `No,' and pushed the defendant's hands down and away," the report continued.
The report stated that Rabbi Max left the room and Levinson's for the day. The victim was so "visibly upset" that her co-workers asked her what was wrong. She left work early, according to the report, sick for the rest of the day, "and she has been out sick since."
The police report noted that the victim told co-workers what had happened. One colleague told police that the victim and the suspect had an "open relationship, which included greeting one another with kisses as well as the victim receiving massages from the suspect while she was sitting at her desk."
Her co-workers also reported that they were unaware of any similar prior incidences involving Rabbi Max. They also were unaware of the victim making similar complaints about others on the premises.
Defense Counsel David Irwin said on Monday, April 13, "We're disappointed with the outcome. We respect the judge's decision, and we're going to appeal."
If that occurs, the case could be heard in County Circuit Court, and the trial would start from scratch and could involve a jury.
Ira Levinson, president of Levinson's called the issue "a personal matter between Rabbi Max and the former employee, and we're not involved."
Rabbi Max is not an employee of Levinson's. However, like any other rabbi performing funeral services there, he is seen as an independent contractor.
Kathleen Cahill, the victim's attorney, said that her client could not yet comment.
However, in her victim impact statement read into the court transcripts, the victim said, "I feel helpless, I am worried about finding another job... I have a lack of trust in others, depression, anxiety, isolation, fears about future employment, fears about financial stability, lack of focus. I feel emotionally hurt, depleted and violated.
"You violated the trust that I had in you by physically violating me that day and by lying about what you did to save your reputation," she continued. "You are a disgrace to all clergy, co-workers, your community and to your family and friends... You are supposed to be a man of God and I hope that one day you will apologize for what you have done."
This was not the first such allegation against Rabbi Max brought to the BALTIMORE JEWISH TIMES. Two years ago, two women called and shared their stories of alleged molestation while the newspaper was reporting on allegations involving other rabbis here. One woman sat with her psychologist as she told the story; the other called from out of state.
Neither, however, pressed charges against Rabbi Max and the newspaper at that time chose not to go forward in printing the allegations without any on-the-record comments.
One of those alleged victims visited Rabbi Max at his home for grief counseling after the death of her father in the mid-1980s. There, she alleged that the rabbi put his arm around her and fondled her breasts. The woman was a college student at the time of the alleged incident.
The second woman, now in her 40s and living out of state, was 15 and attending a relative's bar mitzvah in which Rabbi Max officiated and then allegedly asked her into his office. As a teenager, she said she didn't feel she could say no to the rabbi. Once in the office, she alleged he forcibly kissed her, placing his tongue in her mouth.
When reached by telephone at his home for comment in November 2007 regarding these claims, Rabbi Max said, "In my lifetime I have never molested. I've been married for 22 years. No way, no way at all. I fondled? This is way out of my line. I tried to touch her? If you print this it is stupid from stupidland."
This week, the woman who lives out of state said, "True justice for me would be to see him voluntarily surrender his license to perform religious rites in all venues of society including the conduct of High Holiday services and funerals and visiting patients as a rabbi at local nursing homes. Rabbi Max is fortunate not to have to spend his last days in jail with the other criminals... If he won't repent, then I hope he will just retire and be a private citizen."
Prominent Rabbi Convicted Of Molesting Woman At Funeral Home
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
WBAL Radio as reported by Bill Vanko and The Baltimore Sun
An 85-year-old rabbi has been found guilty of sexually molesting a woman at a funeral home in Reisterstown.
Rabbi Jacob Max is the founder of the Liberty Jewish Center in Pikesville and had pleaded not guilty to fondling the breasts of the woman at the Sol Levinson funeral home where she worked.
He was convicted after a bench trial in Baltimore County District Court and was ordered to serve a year of unsupervised probation.
Max's lawyer says he will appeal the case to the circuit court level where the rabbi will get a jury trial. Lawyer David Irwin says he believes the woman was the aggressor in the incident.
Rabbi Jacob Aaron Max, 85, was found guilty Tuesday afternoon of fourth-degree and second-degree assault for the December 2008 assault of a former Sol Levinson & Brothers Funeral Home female employee.
Rabbi Max was sentenced to one year of incarceration suspended and one year of unsupervised probation.
Rabbi Max is the rabbi emeritus of the Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah Hebrew Congregation, better known as Pikesville's Liberty Jewish Center.
Rabbi Max does not work directly for Levinson's, but is used to perform funeral services.
District judge finds Max, 85, guilty of fondling funeral home employee's breasts; lawyer plans Circuit Court appeal
By Nick Madigan | email@example.com
Baltimore Sun - April 15, 2009
United Press International - April 15, 2009
BALTIMORE, April 15 (UPI) -- A judge in Baltimore found an 85-year-old rabbi guilty of sexually molesting a female worker at a funeral home.
Rabbi Jacob Aaron Max pleaded innocent to charges that he fondled the woman's breasts while murmuring that he was a "bad rabbi," The Sun newspaper in Baltimore reported Wednesday.
A police report of the incident said the woman told officers she was in the kitchen of the Sol Levinson & Bros. Funeral Home when Max approached her from behind and pressed his body against hers, pinning her to the counter. She said the rabbi placed his hands on her brassiere, the report said.
Maryland District Court Judge Nancy Purpura sentenced Max to one year in prison, which she suspended, followed by a year of supervised probation.
The rabbi's attorney, David B. Irwin, told The Sun he will appeal the conviction.
Associated Press - April 15, 2009
Towson, Md. (Map, News) - A Baltimore County District Court judge has found an 85-year-old rabbi guilty of sexually molesting a funeral home worker and sentenced him to one year of unsupervised probation.
Jacob Aaron Max, rabbi emeritus and founder of Pikesville's Liberty Jewish Center, also known as the Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah Hebrew Congregation, was convicted Monday of a fourth-degree sex offense and second-degree assault.
Court documents state that Max fondled the woman's breasts on two occasions minutes apart. At the time, the woman worked in the Sol Levinson & Bros. Funeral Home in Reisterstown, where Max performed funerals.
Judge Nancy Purpura gave Max a suspended one-year prison term.
Max's lawyer says he'll appeal to the Baltimore County Circuit Court and expects "a different result" in a jury trial.
|Rabbi Mitchell Ackerson||Rabbi Elan Adler||Rabbi Rouben Arieh||Rabbi Sion Baalhaness|
|Rabbi Yosef Berger||Mrs. Chaya Esther Brull||Jeffrey Coleman||Marvin Diamond|
|Rabbi Benjamin Dinovitz||Rabbi Mendel Feldman||Dr. H. Ronald Friedman||Mr. Howard Tzvi Friedman|
|Rabbi M. Goldberger||Rabbi Emanuel Goldfeiz||Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb||Rabbi Gershon Grayman|
|Avi Greenlinger||Rabbi Moshe Hauer||Rabbi Moshe Heinemann||Rabbi Dovid Herman|
|Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer||Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz||Mrs. Aviva Isbee||Rabbi Yitzchok Isbee, z'l|
|Rabbi Shmuel Kaplan||Rabbi Dovid Katz||Laurence Katz||Rabbi Yehuda Khoshkeraman|
|Rabbi Nesanel Kostelitz||Avrum Kowalsky||Rabbi Sholem B. Kowalsky, z''l||Mrs. Dorothy Krumbein, z'l|
|Rabbi Chaim Landau||Rabbi Jacob Max||Rabbi Abba Zvi Naiman||Rabbi Shlomo Naiman|
|Rabbi Ari S. Neuberger||Rabbi Sheftel Neuberger||Rabbi Gavriel Newman||Rabbi Elchonon Oberstein|
|Rabbi Ervin Preis, z'l||Rabbi Ronald Schwartz||Rabbi Jonathan Seidemann||Rabbi Simcha Shafran|
|Rabbi Joshua Shapiro||Gerald Shavrick||Rabbi Mordechai Shuchatowitz||Rabbi Shmuel Silber|
|Mrs. Hannah Storch||Rabbi Amram Taub||Rabbi Samuel Vitsick, z'l||Rabbi Zvi Hersh Weinreb|
By Bruce Godfrey
Baltimore Examiner - May 13, 2009
The Baltimore Jewish Times broke a story about sex offense allegations against Rabbi Jacob Max, a preeminent rabbi of greater Baltimore's Jewish community for nearly sixty years. Last month the elderly and well-loved rabbi was tried and found guilty in the District Court of Maryland,. and was sentenced to a suspended sentence of one year and a year of probation. The coverage of this story by the Jewish Times has been a source of significant controversy within the Jewish community, with some readers praising the Jewish Times for its uncovering of a large number of claimants against Rabbi Max, and other accusing the Jewish Times of "salacious" or shoddy reporting.
Today the Baltimore Sun reported that Rabbi Max's attorney David B. Irwin indicated that his client would not be filing an appeal.
Under Maryland's rules of procedure, criminal trials before the District Court of Maryland may be appealed "de novo," i.e. from the beginning with a new trial, after a conviction through the filing of a Notice of Appeal within 30 days of the conviction. This "do-over" is conducted before the Circuit Court of the respective county/Baltimore City and may be conducted before a jury if the defendant is otherwise entited to a jury for the specific charges.
I have no opinion about the innocence or guilt of Rabbi Max. While the conviction and failure to appeal would lead a reasonably cautious person to assume guilt or the likelihood of guilt, I just don't claim to know enough to start opining. In general, my bias is to believe claimants of sexual victimization; the humiliation and scrutiny that they often endure is enough to discourage the casual scammer or fabulist. On the other hand, this bias served me poorly in the Duke lacrosse case, where I found the claims by the exotic dancer of victimization by some of Duke's lacrosse players to be plausible for quite a while. Accordingly, I remain agnostic on that point. What is clear is that of the rabbi and his accuser, there were a victim and a victimizer between the two of them. I hope the rabbi is in fact guilty, rather than unjustly convicted and too weary to clear his name.
Baltimore rabbi convicted of sexual offense
Rabbi Jacob Aaron Max was found guilty Monday of sex offense in the fourth degree and second degree assault for molesting a female employee of a funeral home in December of last year, the Baltimore Jewish Times reported.
Max, 85, is the rabbi emeritus of the Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah Hebrew Congregation, which is better known as Pikesville’s Liberty Jewish Center. He has been active in the Baltimore Jewish community for more than six decades.
Max will appeal the Baltimore County District Court judge's verdict, his attorney told the Baltimore Jewish times. The sentence for Max's verdict is a suspended one-year prison sentence and one year of court-ordered unsupervised probation. A new trial in County Circuit Court could involve a jury.
By Phil Jacobs
Washington Jewish Week - July 21, 2011
The dynamic in the sanctuary created an energy of tension that could be cut with a knife. Many of us in the room looked around to see who else was there. Many familiar faces, neighbors, people from all over the Orthodox community, that's who.
We were told to write down any questions we might have for the Q&A session that would follow. First, however, came a time consuming speech from the rabbinic head of the va'ad. It was 15 minutes of wasted time.
Then came a very meaningful speech from Dr. David Pelcovitz, a specialist in the area of trauma therapy.
In that speech, he stated one fact that still pulsates in my mind every time I hear someone doubt the word of a victim. He told the packed shul that victims don't make their abuse up. He said that 99 percent of the time they (even young children) are telling the truth (that was his number).
Then came the kick in the head: David Mandel, the CEO of Ohel, a social services organization that is supposed to help these victims, got behind the microphone and told us all that if we knew of an abuse, the first action we should take was to tell our rabbi.
Upon hearing that, my head snapped to left, where I knew three of my social worker friends who specialized in this area were seated. All three held their mouths agape. One even started to cry. I was just plain enraged.
And, like lemmings, the people in the audience -- many of them victims who had come to the talk with a hurt and knowledge that they never thought would impact their families -- were stuck in the quick-drying cement of rabbinic folly. These are people who go to their rabbi for every important decision in their lives -- and the rabbis are very aware of that. So now, in addition to the knowledge they carried with them, they were being denied the freedom to get help from the local police, Jewish social service agencies or other qualified therapists.
Like the Catholic priests, there are times when Jewish pedophiles are simply moved out of the community or given menial jobs so they can be "watched" by the community. Seldom are charges brought. You think that is by accident?
I can remember the silence among the therapeutic professionals as they left the synagogue. Their faces, normally reassuring, were ready to explode in disappointment.
Today, I felt that frustration return.
I don't know any longer why I expect anything different, something better, something with total thought behind it.
It was reported by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, who is a leader to many Orthodox people, said that child abuse should be reported to the rabbis before the police.
Kamenetsky is the vice president of Agudath Israel of American's Supreme Council of Rabbinic Sages. His premise is that you should first report the abuse to your rabbi, and he'll then decide if you should call 911.
JTA reported that Kamenetsky made this speech last week, while the search was on for Leiby Kletzky, an 8-year-old boy whose body was dismembered and found the next day in a dumpster and in the apartment of suspect Levi Aron. Kamenetsky, in his unfortunate speech, was simply repeating Agudath Israel's official policy banning Jews from reporting child sexual abuse to the police.
Meanwhile, in the time before 911 was called and an amber alert-like search by police officials could have been made, a young life was lost. Additionally, The New York Jewish Week reported that it was possible Aron may have been known to some in the hareidi Orthodox community, but nobody reported him to the police.
Many know the story of Rabbi Jacob Max, a popular figure in Baltimore who, in plain view, flirted with uncountable numbers of young Jewish women. Yet, nobody ever held him accountable during his career. Many, including his rabbinic peers, thought it was cute, that it was just "Max being Max." One woman, who was allegedly molested by Max when she was just 15 years old, now lives in New England. She converted to Christianity because of the experience.
It wasn't until Max put his hand on the wrong woman that all of this came to an end, and, to his shame, landed him in a courtroom. The victim was not a member of the Jewish community. She had no family to worry about, no ties that would be damaged by his actions.
It goes on and on. And the pious are drowning in the waters of their own hypocrisy.
By the way, the next time you have a question about what's bothering Rashi, go ahead and call a cop.
He'll know the answer. Just like Rabbi Kamenetsky.
Baltimore Sun - August 9, 2011
Services at SOL LEVINSON & BROS., INC., 8900 Reisterstown Road, at Mount Wilson Lane, on Thursday, August 11, at 3 PM. Interment Anshe Emunah Aitz Chaim Cemetery - 3901 Washington Blvd. Please omit flowers. Contributions in his memory may be sent to Ahavas Yisrael, c/o Eli Schlossberg, 3207 Fallstaff Road, (21215). In mourning at 6317 Park Heights Avenue, #211 (The Elmont), Baltimore, MD 21215 sollevinson.com
Burial: Anshe Emunah Aitz Chaim Congregation Cemetery - Baltimore, MD
Convicted of sexual misconduct in 2009
Rabbi Jacob A. Max, founder of Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah Hebrew Congregation, died Tuesday morning, said the synagogue's current head, Rabbi Yerachmiel Shapiro. He was 87.
For more than half a century, Max was a dominant figure in Baltimore's Jewish community.
In 2009, Max was convicted of sexually molesting a woman half his age in a Reisterstown funeral home. Max was found guilty of second-degree assault and a fourth-degree sex offense after a brief bench trial in Baltimore County District Court.
Services for Max will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday at Sol Levinson & Bros., Inc. funeral home in Pikesville, Shapiro said.
JTA - August 10, 2011
BALTIMORE — Jacob Max, a longtime Baltimore-area rabbi who in 2009 was convicted of sexual offense, has died.
Max, who was active in the Baltimore Jewish community for more than six decades, died Tuesday at a Baltimore-area hospital at the age of 87. He was the rabbi emeritus of the Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah Hebrew Congregation.
Max was found guilty in April 2009 of sex offense in the fourth degree and second degree assault for molesting a female employee of a funeral home. He did not appeal a suspended one-year prison sentence and one year of court-ordered unsupervised probation.
The Baltimore Jewish Times called him “a friendly, effusive man given to displays of affection and words of encouragement,” and said that his legacy “promises to be a mixed bag.”
Baltimore Jewish Times - August 11, 2011
|Convicted Sex Offender Dies|
An Upper Park Heights resident, he was 87. Rabbi Max’s funeral is scheduled to be held Thursday, Aug. 11, at 3 p.m. at Sol Levinson & Bros. funeral home.
A friendly, effusive man given to displays of affection and words of encouragement, Rabbi Max will likely have his supporters and detractors in the local Jewish community for years to come, and his legacy promises to be a mixed bag.
“Jack was a very loyal friend, but he was also an enigma wrapped in a mystery,” says Rabbi Mitchell S. Ackerson, director of pastoral care and chaplaincy at Sinai Hospital.
“In many ways he was a simple guy, and in many ways he was a complicated guy. But his goal in life was to keep people in general Jewish. That’s why he was so flexible. He felt he did what he had to do, and people either loved him or hated him. But all of my dealings with Jack were positive. We got along well, even when we disagreed.”
A Vienna native, Rabbi Max moved to Baltimore at age 3 with his family. His parents, Yehoshua and Clara, were Orthodox, and his father was a shochet, or ritual slaughterer.
Rabbi Max attended the Talmudical Academy, then in East Baltimore. (He later became T.A.’s vice principal.) In 1949, he was ordained at Ner Israel Rabbinical College. Two years earlier, he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University, and in 1973 he received a master’s degree in liberal arts from JHU.
In a BALTIMORE JEWISH TIMES Dec. 1, 2000, cover story, Rabbi Max said he originally planned to become an accountant. But conversations with unaffiliated Jewish students at Hopkins convinced him to pursue the rabbinate. “I wanted to explain and teach mainly what to me the concept of Judaism really is – the modern Orthodox concept,” he said.
In the early 1950s, Rabbi Max aligned with Jewish residents in the Howard Park community to create Liberty Jewish Center, now Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah (MMAE) Hebrew Congregation. The shul originally held services in congregants’ homes and at Community Hall, at Liberty Heights and Gwynn Oak avenues.
In 1955, LJC built its own facility at Liberty Heights and Marmon avenues. In 1968, after establishing a strong presence in the local Jewish community with his non-judgmental style, folksiness and sense of humor, Rabbi Max led LJC in its relocation to Randallstown, where the synagogue remained for 21 years.
During its heyday in Randallstown, LJC drew more than 1,000 worshippers for High Holiday services and enjoyed a thriving religious school.
In his sermons, Rabbi Max said he always tried to “apply the strength of our faith to modern Judaism and modern topics, to see that Torah is a Torat Chaim [a living Torah], it’s not just an ancient message.”
In 1989, the congregation sold its Randallstown property and purchased the former Mercantile Country Club in Pikesville’s Greengate community. Because of myriad financial difficulties regarding the deal, LJC had to file for Chapter 11 but continued to operate and eventually emerged out of bankruptcy. Rabbi Max retained his pulpit at LJC and retired in 2002, becoming the congregation’s rabbi emeritus.
Over the years, Rabbi Max was well-known for officiating at local wedding ceremonies, for congregants and others in the community. He estimated he conducted thousands of weddings. “I like the ceremony to be formal,” he told the JEWISH TIMES, “but it doesn’t hurt if there’s a smile or laughter here or there – they still realize the seriousness of the situation.”
In addition, Rabbi Max hosted a local Jewish radio program for three decades, led adult education classes, offered private counseling, oversaw kashrut supervision at a number of institutions, regularly visited patients in nursing homes, and worked with hospitals on providing kosher meals. He also visited Jewish inmates in Maryland’s correctional system, including convicted murderer Steven H. Oken, who was executed in 2004.
“I enjoy most of all the fact that I’ve been able to help … many people get a greater appreciation and awareness that Judaism can be an integral part of their lives,” Rabbi Max told the JEWISH TIMES in 2000.
But in December 2008, Rabbi Max was accused of molestation by a female Sol Levinson ex-employee. The following April, he was convicted in Baltimore County District Court of sexual offense in the fourth degree and second-degree assault. A month later, the rabbi decided not to appeal the sentence of one year of suspended incarceration and a year of unsupervised probation.
That June, MMAE’s board of directors voted to discontinue the synagogue’s longtime relationship with Rabbi Max.
In the wake of Rabbi Max’s passing, Rabbi Ackerson recommended a spirit of non-judgmentalism. “Yes, he’ll have a mixed legacy. There’s no way around that,” he says. “Time will tell who’s right. But in many ways, he will be missed. He was always a gracious, friendly, warm person. He tried his best, and was a devoted husband and a wonderful uncle. It was always fun to talk to him, and he did a lot of good in the work he did.”
Rabbi Max is survived by his wife, Eileen Max (nee Fried); his sister, Regina Starr of North Bergen, N.J.; and many nieces and nephews. Contributions in his memory may be sent to Ahavas Yisrael, c/o Eli Schlossberg, 3207 Fallstaff Road, Baltimore, Md. 21215.
Rabbi Max "Lives" On
I find it so fitting that on our most difficult day of mourning, Rabbi Max passed away.
Rabbi Max was ordained in 1949 at the prestigious Ner Israel Rabbinical College. He also had degrees in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University and a master's in liberal arts also from Hopkins.
But in December 2008, Rabbi Max was accused of molestation by a female Sol Levinson Funeral Home employee. The following April, he was convicted in Baltimore County District Court of sexual offense in the fourth degree and second-degree assault. A month later, the rabbi decided not to appeal the sentence of one year of suspended incarceration and a year of unsupervised probation. The person who pressed the charge was not Jewish.
That June, the shul he founded, Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah Hebrew Congregation's board of directors voted to discontinue the synagogue's longtime relationship with Rabbi Max.
He has passed on now. Yet, there are many of us who have such mixed feelings about this entire situation. Rabbi Max never publicly apologized for his transgressions even after he was found guilty.
So I note in the death notice that the family has requested donations to a local food pantry in lieu of flowers. Very nice. But there are plenty of people who donate money for food, and God bless them. May I suggest that one consider also donating funds to organizations who deal directly with the therapeutic care of molestation survivors.
May I also suggest that even though Rabbi Max has passed away, he is very much alive.
He's alive in the daily pain and suffering of the people he molested, some who still could be paying for therapy to give them at least a chance to sew their lives back together. He's alive in the inner space of molestation survivors who just couldn't get help.
Rabbi Max acted inappropriately in plain view. There were those who thought it was cute if when he was in his 50s, he'd "hit" on your 20 year-old daughter. Rabbis, teachers, his own shul members knew what was going on, yet never had him stop it. I have a friend who lives in New England who was 15 when her parents urged her to follow the rabbi into his office so that he could show her some artwork from Israel. She didn't want to. She told her parents that the girls at the shul considered the rabbi "creepy." She came out of the closed door office a changed young woman. He molested her. And now she is a practicing Catholic. Why? Because there was no where she could go, no rabbi who believed her story.
Rabbi Max also married my wife and I. And at my very wedding, he made a beeline towards my younger sister in law, who was some 30 years his junior.
So, he's deceased now. I know that there are some who are going to criticize me and this column for my comments about a dead man. I know, "he can't defend himself." Please.
Some of us know way too many people for which Rabbi Max was given license to kill their spirits, their hopes and in some cases their innocence.
Certainly now, there will probably be people who will feel safer about coming forward to receive help now that their molester has passed. Not 30 minutes after the notice of his death hit the Internet did I receive a phone call from a social worker living in California. A middle aged woman. She found me working now in Rockville, because she had a story to tell me. Now that Rabbi Max has gone, she said she can share it.
Rabbi Max, the late Rabbi Max, died on Tisha B'Av.
Baruch Dayan HaEmet. __________________________________________________________________________________