Ephraim Becker Agreed Not To Work with Women In 2008

Ephraim Becker image 2Ephraim David Becker is a “therapist” and mussar speaker in Jerusalem who lives in Kiryat Yearim/Telshe-Stone. He has quite a biography on his web site, http://mussar-psych.org where he writes:

I served, after receiving ordination at the tender age of 22, in my first and only rabbinical pulpit, for three years. I found that the most attractive aspects of the position were the frequent hospital visitations… I [became] a clinical chaplain with the Jewish Chaplaincy Service of Milwaukee, teaching at the Yeshiva in Milwaukee and receiving a [1992] Ph.D. in Education at the University of Wisconsin, specializing in Counseling [actually, “Urban Education”] ……

I accepted the post as Mashgiach Ruchani at the David Shapell College/ Yeshivat Darche Noam in Jerusalem where I served for four years. The demands of my growing private counseling practice made it necessary to choose my full-time work and I have pursued my practice while teaching part-time, primarily in those programs which supervise teachers and counselors.

Missing From the Biography

Missing from this biography was his connection to Neve Yerushalayim’s Family Institute and Counseling Center. One can’t blame him because it culminated with him being kicked out over reports of sexually exploiting his relationships with women including those who came to him for marital or couples counseling.

Becker was a student at Yeshiva University’s (YU) rabbinical seminary (RIETS) but dropped out without getting smichah (ordination). Instead in 1983 he belatedly finished his B.A. in Yeshiva College and picked up an M.A. in Jewish history. He then went to Chofetz Chaim but also did not get smichah from them. Instead he claims a private smichah at “the tender age of 22” though he does not say where he got it. In a bio on JewishAnswers.org he claims to have gotten it from Rav Gedalia Felder of Toronto. Funny for him to have enrolled in a smichah program years after he got it. Unfortunately Rabbi Felder is not around to tell us the truth.

Becker’s 1992 PhD was granted by the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee: School of Education’s program in Urban Education. Contrary to his claims, it is not a degree in counseling or training of any sort for doing therapy work. According to the website of the program it is a program about curriculum and administration, not counseling. Their website states: “A separate Ph.D. with specialization in Counseling Psychology, Learning and Development, Research Methodology, and School Psychology is offered through the Department of Educational Psychology.” But Becker did not get his degree from the counseling program. Caveat emptor: “Rabbi Dr.” Becker should be thought of as neither a rabbi or doctor when it comes to using him as a therapist or moral teacher.

Agrees Not to Work With Women

Ephraim Becker agreement not to work with women Aug 4 2008

click on document to enlarge and sharpen

On August 4, 2008 Becker signed this agreement:

“I, Ephraim D. Becker hereby commit to limiting my professional work to males only. By this I confirm that under no circumstances will I work with women, privately, institutionally, fee-based, or as a volunteer, in the capacity of counselor, therapist, or teacher. I will not see women in marriage counseling even in the presence of their husbands. I agree to immediately terminate all work with current female clients and in no way promote myself from now on as a marriage counselor or therapist who works with women.

Yisrael Levitz Dr Neve YerushalayimI agree to be supervised in my work with male clients with an eye towards confirming growth and future ability to broaden my practice.

Should I be found to be in violation of the above commitment, I understand that I can be brought to Bais Din for a Din Torah.

(Signatures) Ephraim Becker; in the presence of [Rabbi] Dovid Ostroff & [Dr.] Yisrael Levitz.”


Violating the Agreement

Dovid Ostroff Rabbi Neve YerushalayimI posted this agreement because I have received reports that he has begun seeing women clients as part of marital counseling work.

In spite of that agreement he did a talk on May 26, 2013 listed for both men and women at Seattle’s Kehilla Ezra Bessaroth listed for both men and women.

He no longer mentions his appearances at Alan Morinis’s Mussar Institute kallot from 2003-2006.

Yaakov Menken

Yaakov Menken

However, Becker is still listed as staff at Yaakov Menken’s Torah.org and his Project Genesis where they offer up Becker’s lecture, “Marriage: Facing Reality.”

Going Forward

If you have knowledge that Becker has broken his signed agreement to stay away from any work with women I encourage you to report it to Rabbi Ostroff or Dr. Leavitz at Neve Yerushalayim. I certainly urge people to steer clear of him for marital counseling or any sort of work with women. In fact, given his suspect ethics, I would steer clear of him for anything. He probably does not have smichah and he misrepresents himself  when he claims to have earned a Ph.D. in counseling.

Readers might want to contact Menken and ask why Project Genesis still promotes his lecture on marriage.

If you are part of an organization considering using him as a speaker, I urge you to contact Dr. Levitz or Rabbi Ostroff before going ahead.


41 thoughts on “Ephraim Becker Agreed Not To Work with Women In 2008

  1. I question why you posted this. The people who dealt with it felt that it should be addressed quietly, and there has been no indication anywhere that he has violated the terms of the agreement (giving a speech to a mixed crowd does not count, and neither does having your lecture posted on line). As such, why have you felt the need to “out” him to the general public? Even your favorite CBD prefers to employ these confidential agreements when possible.

    • Because there are other ways in which he has not been keeping this agreement. These sort of agreements have a long history of usually failing to prevent recidivism. Takanah now regrets having not alerted the public sooner about Mutty Alon.

      People who live near him have a right to know and be alerted to his history.

      • If you in fact have knowledge that he has not been keeping to the agreement, I would think that the proper course of action would be to notify whomever is supposed to be monitoring him and see if they act on the info. If you have already done so before posting this, then I agree that a more public call is in place.

        • No. When there is a bor bireshus harabbim, you fill it in. You don’t sign private agreements to prevent people from falling in. Those agreements never work. Ben Zion Sobel reached a private agreement with Rav Elizer Mann Shach, which he violated when R. Shach died and Sobel went back to teaching in yeshiva and sodomizing boys. He reached a private agreement with R. Elya Svei which he violated when R. Svei was no longer healthy. etc. etc. The privacy and reputation of a Meisels, Sobel, or Becker is a trivial thing when dozens or hundreds of people can be protected by public notice. Do you think the world is better off not knowing what Meisels is. Even with a confession to a beis din he still won’t give up his fight. He had a chance to deal with privately and he could not even stick to that option for a few months.

        • Would you then criticize the CBD for signing the agreement with Meisels in May, and publicizing the issue only when they felt he was not getting out of the seminary business?

          • Yes, I have said I felt they erred in not publicizing that he was a danger as soon as they reached that conclusion. I believe they have reached the same conclusion. Hence their much stronger statement about Elimelech Meisels a few weeks ago.

  2. can you please give us contact information on who to contact as I have personal knowledge that he is seeing couples together (the husband and wife) as of now.

    • THE FAMILY INSTITUTE of Neve Yerushalayim
      Telephone: 972-2-65-44-600

      (Sunday to Thursday, 9:00 – 14:00)

      Fax: 972-2-65-44-601

      E-mail: familyinstitute@nevey.org

      Mailing Address: P.O. Box 43016 Jerusalem 91430

      The Family Institute is situated on the campus of the Neve Yerushalayim seminary in Har Nof. Our address is Rechov Beit Yitzchak, next to Rechov Hakablan 10.

      I will also email you privately.

  3. I am not surprised that Becker is associated with for Yaakov Menken. Hamayvin Yavin. You can read Menkin’s profile on Luke Ford’s website: http://www.lukeford.net/profiles/profiles/yaakov_menken.htm

    As to the alleged smicha from Rav Gedalia Felder. I would suggest contacting one of his sons. Rabbi Yacov Felder of Toronto ( https://www.sscm.ca/shul/rabbi ) might be in the best position to assist you. There would likely be someway to confirm the smicha through a family member, a former student, whoever maintains the records for his beis din (gitim), the Vaad Harabonim for the city etc.

    • Confirmed he is 55 years old.

      My math (not conclusive) indicates that since Becker is claiming to have received smicha from Rav Gedalia Felder at age 22 (around 1981) that appears to be after Rav Gedalia Felder had a stroke in 1980.

  4. YL – you’ve misspelled marital as martial in your first reference. I hope it’s not martial as in martial arts. 😉

    Also, on EDB’s web site, he left off the letter “c” in Nickelodeon, said it was a British company (not, it’s American; take a look at it on Wikipedia). EDB’s facts & spelling leave something to be desired, at least, from an English nitpicker such as myself.

      I also noticed that typo, martial vs marital, , reminded me of the great movie, one of my all time favorites “The War of the Roses” with Danny Devito. But I refrained from commenting on the typo. Pikanti m’od… (guess it says something about me, that i saw “the war of the roses” several times. LOL. The chandelier scenes are priceless.

  5. met this clown in milwaukee years ago ..guess Rabbi Twersky was fooled…he must have lots of al chaits coming due….shame

    • Yes this appeared in his comments:

      “UOJ” – “The Un-Orthodox Jew” said…

      I am seeking verifiable information on Rabbi Dr. Ephraim David Becker.
      Becker lives in Kiryat Yearim (Telshe Stone). His business card says Counselor יועץ but his degree is in Education and he is treating patients as psychologist/therapist.
      Your anonymity is guaranteed.
      My e-mail:a_unorthodoxjew@yahoo.com
      1:01 PM, June 30, 2011
  6. The words you could not read in his handwriting are “and future”. Having a doctor for a parent makes for ease in reading bad handwriting.

  7. My wife and I visited with Dr. Becker around 2006 to seek his advice regarding one of our children. We had been referred to him by someone we knew and trusted. We only visited with him once and here’s why. After clearly stating why we were there (for advice regarding one of our children) Dr. Becker’s first question, without hesitation or subtlety was, how often were my wife and I having relations and was everything “OK” in the bedroom. My wife and I looked at each other, clearly taken aback by the question. Dr. Becker sensed our confusion and quickly explained that if there was stress coming from the bedroom it would effect the children. That explanation not withstanding it seemed odd that this would be first question coming from this “chareidi” therapist. As uncomfortable as it made us, we assured him everything was fine. We finished up that session and decided not to visit with Dr. Becker again. Only later did we start hearing the various accounts of how Dr. Becker manipulated various women and literally destroyed a few marriages. It then occurred to me that the question that Dr. Becker asked us was simply a way for him to find a new target (shudder).

  8. The israeli chadrei chareidim internet news had put outa forum on efraim becker a few years ago. There was rumor that he sued them so they backed off. There were a few comments about his behavior but it was removed. One of the women he abused started a process of pressing charges by speaking to the police. She then got scared for her familys reputation so she backed off. Rabbi Rubin in har nof heard first hand cases both from becker and the woman about the terrible manipulation that he suffered. Once again it was not brought forward to the authorities. It is known that frum ladies or girls are very scared to come forward. So someone that preys on them can keep it up for many years. Until the real victims come forward eventually to save sheris yisroel.

    • Can you provide a full name for Rabbi Rubin, a description of where he is a rabbi and what he does, and a time frame? I tried contacting you by email but it bounced back. Please use a different email address in the future.

  9. I have just come to your site. I usually get my “schmutz” from Failed Messiah. By using the word “schmutz” I do not mean to say that what you are publicizing is incorrect or wrong, it just saddens and hurts me to see what is really happening. I commend you COMPLETELY for warning people to stay away from these horrible sick and creepy people. It seems accusations of loshon hora, mesira and rechilus are the perfect tools for a predator. You couldn’t create something more conducive to stealthy abuse than this.

    So I am a parent of a number of young women, 2 who have gone through the seminary system. Thank G-d, no issues at all but only a wonderful experience for both of them. But I wondered in visiting your site how easily a Meisels situation could occur…hunderds of young women and an authoritative charismatic Rabbi…it is a field day for the Yetzer Hora .

    I read a lot of things out there, so my question to you is this…how much does the average baal ha bayit have to worry about this? Is this a systemic problem like in the Catholic church? Are we to treat all Rabbis who work with women as suspect? I must admit I am creeped out by the whole thing and just cannot look at Chareidi Rabbis in the same way. And that is another question, do you think this is more prone to Chareidi Rabbis than “Modern”? My guess is yes, since it is a much more restricted lifestyle. I am just so creeped out by seeing these smiling men with their yellow teeth and thinking about how they preyed on children.

  10. I assume you are unaware of the damage you may be causing through this blog. Sure, you will pat yourself on the back and convince yourself that your intentions are lishaym shamayim. Your buddies will rally to your defense and post about their experiences and about how such a blog would have saved them. Some of the stories might be true.

    If you have real claims, go to Bais Din. This site is disgusting.

    The dates of your posting coincide with the month of Elul. Have you no shame?

    • Ayinroeh, can you explain how an erliche yid like yourself happens to find himself on this “disgusting” site? There are no readers of this blog who are coerced into being here. You made a terrible mistake, I guess for you tantamount to having fallen into a den of iniquity or a porn site. I suggest that you put a block on your computer, “whiting” out any websites where words such as ( pedophile, rape, molestation, abuse) appear. Do it for your own soul. And then initiate an active search for the words “pidyon shvuim”. bye.

  11. Chashdan, I was not going to reply, because as I said before, I don’t visit this site. But as most internet users know, it’s called internet for a reason. Links lead from one place to another. Comments on this site are controlled by WordPress which links all comments of a single commenter in one place. So for example, tonight, I had no intention of visiting this “den of iniquity” as you call it, on Chanukah no less, but your straw-man attack from last month popped onto the WordPress screen.

    You imply that I couldn’t care less about victims of pedophilia, rape, etc. Or at least that’s how the comment comes across. (I apologize if I misunderstood you.) If that was your intention, my response is, “Punkt fakert!” Davka because I care about every Yiddishe neshama, man, woman, and child, I would advocate using all responsible methods to protect all neshamos. That includes the police, legal system, rabanim, batei din, etc. It does not include websites which have absolutely no systems in place for determining what is emes or not.

    I recently heard a story that took place in a well known yeshiva. A boy from a wealthy influential family was being disruptive and was asked by his rebbi to leave the room for a period of time. The junior high school boy who did not want to suffer the shame of being kicked out of the class told the rebbi in front of his classmates, “If you kick me out, I will spread rumors that you molested me!” Another fellow that I know who had a very tough time in school due to severe untreated ADHD now claims years later that he was physically abused although for years I knew him very well and he was always adamant that this was not the case.

    The point is that “eidus” over an anonymous forum is meaningless. For all you know, chashdan, we are night seder chavrusos and we would never know it due to the anonymity of this forum.

    It’s not a perfect world and there are bad people out there. Good solutions are needed to solve bad problems. Bad solutions don’t solve bad problems. Zei gezunt.

    • As you said, anonymity creates problems. I am still trying to find an actual verified case of a kid inventing abuse allegations because of dispute with a teacher. It is of course theoretically possible, but extraordinarily unlikely for all sorts of reasons.

    • So, do you think Bais Din is a good solution? Let’s examine the great case of Yudi Kolko. I think he was a known molester for appromately FORTY years. Check out how many bais dins were convened, how many meetings of rabbonim and askonim there were. Absolutely nothing was done until an anonymous blogger discovered victims, publicized the story, and was probably the single cause in enabling parents to bring a lawsuit, finally forcing Morgo, yemach sh’mo vezichro, to fire Kolko. If not for that, Kolko would still be on the staff of YTT, destroying the lives of more and more children and families.

  12. Yes, he still accepts women for marriage counseling. Since I didn’t know all this, I went to him with my wife for marriage counseling. But I want to empathize that his own wife was there during the sessions.

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