Rabbi (sic) Yaacov Yagen
I recently got a message from a friend in the Sephardic World about Rabbi Yaakov Yagen. My acquaintance writes:
Rabbi Yaakov Yagen is well known among the Sephardic communities as a jet setting connoisseur of young women from Long Island to Miami to Mexico City to Panama.
Recently he was scheduled to speak at the prominent Safra Synagogue in Miami but his potential audience was disappointed when they were told that he was unfortunately unable to make it because he was being detained by authorities in Panama. They made it sound like it was an immigration or visa hitch.
Based upon observations made by some of the young women in the Sephardic communities where Yagen regularly speaks, one cannot help but wonder if Yagen’s “delay” might relate to accusations made by one or more of the young women he has been known to invite to join him in his private office to “talk”.
Yagen has been known to offer many young women such private “talks” in the Sephardic communities where he travels to speak.One young woman told me that she asked Yagen, “But what about yichud?” He answered, “Its OK, I am a rabbi.”
Yagen doesn’t just roam the Sephardi world. This hip looking lounge lizard was also used by the Williamsburg Vaad Hatznius. Until about five years ago he was seeing Satmar teen aged girls for “torah therapy” in Nechemya Weberman’s appartment on Classon Ave. Weberman was the one who procured the girls and drove them to the office. I am guessing Yagen also told them it was OK to close the door because he was a rabbi. Maybe he said, it’s OK to close the door because I am a Sephardi rabbi.
Yagen is still regularly used by Weberman, just not in Williamsburg. Yankel Kellner, a Vaad Hatznius shtarker (heavyweight) from KJ from the dissident Bnai Yoel faction has been known to cooperate with Weberman in making “referrals” to this great “Torah therapist.” Others in this cast of characters include Meilech Glick of Kiryas Joel and Duvid Eckstein, Rosh Hakohol of KJ.
The cases I am aware of involved married women. As far as anyone knows Yagen has no credentials or training as a therapist. Many of us also have serious doubts about his Torah qualifications. In fact, I strongly suspect this is neither about therapy or Torah, just about extortion
Yagen promotes himself on his website yaakovcares.com
. I am sure he cares about money and access, very close access, to his young women.
Update- Dec 11, 2012: During his trial, Nechemya Weberman testified that he originally sent his girls to Yagen (in Weberman’s appartment). but then the vaad decided to use Weberman himself.
Even before the trial I heard about his counseling techniques. He claimed that if a Satmar girl was talking to boys the solution was to get them to transfer their affection to him. In psychoanalysis, this is called transference. Professional therapists are supposed be very careful to avoid counter-transferring. One can only wonder about how that worked out in Yagen’s case, since he has no professional training in doing therapy work.
Update Dec 24, noon, 2012: Yagen’s calendar on YagenCares is completely empty of upcoming events. Maybe he has gone chasidish and won’t do any more torah therapy from this Nittal Nacht and forward. Maybe SC has discovered he is a naughty boy. Who knows? If you know what is going on, please share your thoughts.
Update Feb. 18, 2013
: I am told by a reliable source that Yaakov Yagen is no longer welcome in Los Angeles
as a speaker at Jewish events. It seems a group of rabbis conveyed the message to him. They urged him not to try and circumvent their decision. If he did they said they would make their objections to Yagen public. Rabbi Yosef Galimidi
is Yagen’s protector and he called a rabbi in LA to protest the decision and to vouch for Yagen, all to no avail. Galimidi’s shul in Miami, Beit Edmund J Safra
Sephardic Synagogue of Turnberry, is home to The Midrasha at Safra
which regularly hosts events for “Young Ladies and Women” where Yagen is a regular speaker. However, as noted earlier, in this post, he has had a lot of cancellations.
As of today, Yagen’s Calender
on his web page is empty.
Following one of his cancellations, the following message was sent to me by someone who got the message from Rabbi Galimidi:
I saw the article. The only thing I will tell you is that R Y Y delay in Panama was due to an AA flight delay from Miami to Panama, which caused his flight not to leave Panama until very late at night, it was the same plane coming from here to there and back to Miami. I tried personally to get him on different flight to no avail due to the lateness of the hour. Additionally, I am the one that requested from him to send me a specially recorded shiur for our event which done by a friend of mine there, and send me the video link to show that night. I hope that this will dissipate any doubts or worries about his absence that night. Moreover, I know him for many years, he is far from what is written about him.Kol Tuv. Moadim LeSimha.Rabbi Yosef Galimidi
Update 5/23/13: Yagen’s website is no longer operating. He is however finally scheduled to appear at the Safra sysnagogue on monday nights, But will he show? He often cancels.
Update 6/4/13: I am told that Yagen is banned from speaking in Los Angeles by a group of orthodox rabbis. If he attempts to circumvent the ban he has been told that he will be publicly exposed. His sole defender, was rabbi Yosef Galimidi of the Edmund Safra shul in Miami, who also has him in periodically for their Midrasha program for women.
Yaakov Yagen is an alleged serial predator of young women. He lectures to all women audiences and spends a lot of his time involved in Sholom Bayis counselling. According to many testimonials Yagen lures young women to his office under the guise of counseling where he uses his position of authority to engage with them sexually.
UPDATE 11/9/13: Rabbi Eli Mansour of the prominent Sephardi Safra Synagogue in Brooklyn operates a website, LearnTorah.com which is mostly a large collection of recordings of lectures on various torah topics. In the past, Rabbi Yagen was prominently featured on LearnTorah. Sometime in the last few months, every last one of Yaakov Yagen’s lectures were removed from LearnTorah.com. It seems they wised up to him.
UPDATE 7/12/16- In the past, Yagen was highly promoted by Rabbi Galidimi of the Safra shul in Miami, who defended him from various allegations. Apparently that has changed and Yagen is no longer welcome there, and all references to him have been scrubbed from their web site. A Google search of their site and the word Yagen (Yagen site:ejsfl.com) does not yield a single hit.
In addition, his website, http://www.yaakovcares.com/ has also been suspended. It is not clear why. As of Jan 11, 2016, his website was still active according to the backup on the Internet Archive.