|Convicted rapist Jacob Isaac Roth|
The Jewish world is in shock after the Hasidic sect of Shomrei Emunim crowned a convicted rapist as their grand rebbe, according to press reports in Israel.
Freed inmates usually go through an intense rehabilitation period, but there are those who immediately rise to prominence, even without a cooling off period. Jacob Isaac Roth, who was convicted of rape and sentenced to 16 years in prison, was released this week from prison and immediately became grand rebbe, a role he inherited from his father, who died during his imprisonment.
The rebbe's father was Rabbi Abraham Chaim Roth, also known as the Shomrei Emunim rebbe. He passed away last summer. He was the leader of a Hasidic community based in Jerusalem.
Some ultra-Orthodox Jews rejoiced with their new convicted rapist rabbi as he moved to the Israeli city of Beitar Illit.
"The rabbi denied the charges against him and refused to confess to his crimes. He also rejected a plea bargain deal," one Hasid told a local Israeli newspaper.
Prisoners who were in jail with Roth were surprised about the job waiting for him in his life of freedom.
"How does one who is serving a prison sentence for sexual offenses today become a rabbi tomorrow?" One prisoner asked in shock.
Prison official said that Roth was one of the most difficult prisoners. “His behavior towards others was terrible,” one prison official said. “I cannot believe that ultra-Orthodox Jews are willing to crown a low life as their grand rebbe,” he added.