Religion Magazine

Polish-Israeli Rabbi Not Even Jewish

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
There is a very strange story coming to light in Poland right now, in the town of Posnan.
A man shows up, appearing as a Haredi Jew - dressed in classic Haredi garb, sporting a beard and peyos, calling himself Rav Yaakov Ben Nistal from Haifa, Israel. Rabbi Ben Nistal was looking for a job as a community rabbi.
Polish-Israeli rabbi not even Jewish
I guess he was charismatic and likable, and was soon hired by the community. Ben Nistal represented them in full capacity as rabbi, partaking in events organized by various organizations, City Hall, and all the normal things city rabbis do.
At some point it became clear that there was something suspicious regarding Ben Nistal - he spoke no Hebrew, new little about Judaism and almost nothing about Torah.
A local (Polish) newspaper just exposed Ben Nistal as being a fraud. Ben Nistal's real name is Yatzik Nishchota from another town in Poland and is not even Jewish. He was positively identified by another resident of his hometown when he was on national television for some interview, posing as the Chief Rabbi of Posnan.
Since he was exposed, the honorable "chief rabbi" has gone on the lam and has yet to surface anywhere in public.
A community representative has said that Nishchota never received any money for hsi services or for his participation in events. Supposedly people from the community are now claiming that they were suspicious for a while already that something strange was going on as it was clear that Ben Nistal did not know much about Judaism and customs and whatnot, did not know basic words of basic prayers, how to hold a Torah properly, and the like..
Weird story.
I don't think any comment on this is even necessary. I do wonder why he would do it. Someone suggested to me that there are many Christians in Poland who love the Jews and want to make up for past bad behavior of Polish Christians, and perhaps thought he had found a way to help a small community that needed leadership. That sounds too convenient to me. Also, he did not have to put on fake beard and peyos and color his hair and take a fake name and play rabbi - he could have done whatever in his capacity to help as a Christian.
Maybe he wanted honor and respect. Maybe he was just curious to see if he could get away with it. Maybe he started it off as a prank of sorts and then just continued it when he saw it was going well.
Or maybe there was another reason. Who knows? But it is a crazy story. The picture of him that is going around makes him look as if he is straight out of one of the many movies about hassidic Jewry where the actor is clearly dressed up...
I wonder if he was on the newly-formed Israeli Rabbanut list as approved for performing conversions..
We must be living in amazing times when Polish Christians want to dress up and act like Jews...
------------------------------------------------------ Reach thousands of readers with your ad by advertising on Life in Israel ------------------------------------------------------

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog