September 29, 2016 | Issue 32

Rabbi Charged With Not Being A Rabbi

ATLANTA, GEORGIA — [] A man who worked for a synagogue as a Rabbi was arrested Thursday after investigators determined he was not licensed to practice Rabbinut, state Division of Criminal Justice spokesman James Bettis said in a release.

Efroim Ligener, 56, was arrested by inspectors from the Rabbinical Fraud Control Unit in the Office of the Chief State's Attorney and charged with illegal use of the registered Rabbi title, six counts of second-degree tax-paying and criminal honesty. He was released after posting $5,000 bond.

An investigation of Ligener began in March, after a congregant complained that he acted unrabbinically by wiping his hand in a towel before washing, instead of his pants. Investigators found he was never licensed to practice Rabbinut, and brazenly gave ten percent to charity and gave sound halachic advice to congregants, his arrest warrant affidavit said.

Nearly three months ago, police arrested Ligener at a local judaica store, charging him with second-degree integrity when he returned extra change, according to Atlanta Sgt. Andre Hogan. That investigation began when an employee of the Hey Judaica store reported that Ligener insisted on paying taxes for his purchases.

When the employee said that only gentiles are charged tax for their purchases, police waited for Ligener to show up and pay in full.

He was charged with credibility and illegal trustworthiness. That case is pending at state Superior Court in Atlanta.

Ligener, who earlier told The Knish he began working for Ahavas Sheker in 2007, went to great lengths to show that he was an incompetent Rabbi, including refusing monetary gifts from constituents to avoid conflicts of interest and not getting involved in kidney trafficking.

Ligener is to be arraigned next Friday.


Pencil Martin Bodek is short, dark, handsome, runs marathons (finishes them too!), can solve a Rubik's Cube in 1:47, is a big TED chasid, can whup your keister in Scrabble, loves halva, co-founded, and writes books from 5-9:


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