Friday, 15 February 2013

Jewish Rabbi Busted For Attempted Rape Of A Minor Allegedly Ran Dangerous Jewish Heritage Tours Of Europe

Back from Jewish Heritage Tour to Italy

"The tour director, Rabbi Dr. Nosson Dovid Rabinowich, showed a complete disregard for the well-being and welfare of those on the tour. Food and water were insufficient and he made no effort to ensure that our group of 32 travelers was present and accounted for. Indeed, he had no qualms about abandoning members of the group."

    Looking for a Jewish tour of Italy, we booked "Jewish Heritage Tours" headed by Rabbi Nosson Dovid Rabinowich.

    Overview of the tour: The tour director, Rabbi Dr. Nosson Dovid Rabinowich, showed a complete disregard for the well-being and welfare of those on the tour. Food and water were insufficient and he made no effort to ensure that our group of 32 travelers was present and accounted for. Indeed, he had no qualms about abandoning members of the group..

    He was abusive and insulting and consistently lied (for example, he specifically told a member of the group that he would accompany the group to the airport for the trip home but in fact, without warning, walked away from the bus as we pulled away, leaving the group to fend for itself at the airport without any direction or instructions and with no time to spare to make our flight). Finally, despite his claims of being a scholar with a doctorate in medieval Jewish history, his lack of knowledge, and failure to adequately educate the group was readily apparent.

    Specific examples: Three incidents stand out as examples of his intentional disregard for the welfare of those traveling on this tour.

    1) Upon arrival in Rome at 7:30 in the morning on a very hot July morning, despite promising breakfast, no food or water were provided. When asked for water the tour director said he would provide it later, despite the fact that he himself was carrying a bottle of water. When I told him that one of the members of the group was showing signs of dehydration and was looking ill, he gave me his half empty bottle and told me to give it to her. His lack of concern was shocking.

    2) A member of the group had prior conversations with Rabinowich about special dietary needs as she had celiac disease and other food issues. He repeatedly assured her that her needs would be taken care of. On arrival however, there was no accommodation made for her and he told her that food was her own responsibility, and that she should go home if she was not satisfied. There were several meals when this traveler had nothing to eat.

    3) While there were many other incidents that demonstrated his complete disregard for members of the group, on incident stands out. When in Siena, he told the group to meet him at a designated location from which we would depart for the bus and leave for Florence. Members of the group were waiting as instructed but he never arrived. Instead he was at a different location and, without trying to inform everyone that he was leaving, started walking to the bus, leaving members of the group in the bathroom.

    Once on the bus, he instructed the driver to pull away, despite the fact that four members of the group were still at the restroom. When he was told to wait, he said that those missing were to blame and that they were now on their own. When he was told that it was his fault as he did not meet the group at the designated spot and that he cannot abandon members of the group, he stood up, walked down the aisle of the bus, and proceeded to scream at members of the group saying that they were nothing but trouble and that they should leave the group and go home. He was completely irrational and out of control and it appeared that he might strike the person who spoke up. From that point on members of the group were afraid to speak for fear of being left behind or verbally abused.

    As for the tour itself, while we did see Italy, many of the things promised on the itinerary were not provided (e.g., appropriate food and some promised sites). Simply stated, he lied about many things, did the bare minimum, and did not follow through on all that he had promised.

    If you want to take a Jewish Heritage trip to Italy, do NOT go with this group. You are better off booking some of the many Jewish day trips readily available once you are in Italy.

    9 Replies | Jump to last reply |
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        latedaytraveler on Jul 22, 12 at 12:30pm


        How did you ever get hooked up with this group? Was it through a local synagogue? I doubt it. To invest all of that money on a trip to Europe without sterling testimonies from those who have gone before or online seems na├»ve.

        Sorry for your troubles…
        CTeitch on Jul 22, 12 at 2:32pm

        Long story, but we had heard generally good feedback (it is Italy, after all) but that there were some "issues" with it. We never dreamed they would be like this. I decided to publicize this so others wouldn't make the same mistake.
        Ackislander on Jul 23, 12 at 6:09am

        Thank you. I have seen tour groups sponsored or under the auspices of Christian organizations exploited (hotels for a city really 40 miles away, impossible schedules, bad food) so I am interested to see that there is no religious monopoly on bad behavior.
        TDudette on Jul 23, 12 at 9:21am

        Egad. That's awful, CTeitch. May I presume you've complained to the tour company as well? What did they say?

        Comment has been removed by Fodor's moderators
        JerryS on Aug 14, 12 at 3:30pm

        It is certainly very sad, to say the least, to be deceived and insulted by an orthodox rabbi.
        I am sorry that your trip to Italy was ruined by his lies and actions.
        My only advice to you and your fellow travelers is to not let him get away with this and not to ignore what happened.
        Start by contacting all of the others who were on the Tour and join together in filing a strong Complaint with the Tour Company demanding compensation for not receiving what was promised; contact your credit company (if, in fact you paid for the Tour with a credit card) and tell them that you did not receive what was promised and file a complaint against the tour company with them.
        Above all do not be timid and allow the Tour Company and the "Rabbi" (if, in fact he is one) to get away with their despicable actions.
        sarge56 on Aug 14, 12 at 8:35pm

        I'm with JerryS. If you let him/them get away with this, they will repeat the offenses with other travelers not savvy enough to find these negative reviews. Please follow up with complaints... it is your right!
        Jean on Aug 14, 12 at 10:22pm

        I'm also with JerryS, and I would add suggestions to file complaints with the NYC Dept. of Consumer Affairs, the BBB, etc. I'd write letters to the editor of publications in which this tour is advertised (Jewish Voice and Opinion, for one) which probably won't be published but might make the publication re-consider running the ads. I'd also go back to wherever/whomever you heard about the tour and share your trip report. Spread the word.

        I applaud you for relating your experience in calm detail. Maintain that attitude as you contact the various entities.
        LuvToRoam on Aug 15, 12 at 9:51am

        I agree with Jerry, Sarge & Jean. Social media is powerful. Don't stop talking about this lousy tour company-get to every blog you can, write to travel sections of newspapers and contact travel agents in your area. Engage some really good tour companies to help spread the word about this company, it is to their advantage as one bad apple spoils the bushel. What a shame to have someone like this ruin the perfectly lovely country of Italy for you. Hope you have the opportunity to revisit and actually enjoy the areas you wanted to visit.
        claykittels on Aug 17, 12 at 3:40pm

        My husband and I were also on the same tour, " Magnificent Italy Jewish Heritage Tour ", run by Jewish Heritage Tours this past July.

        CTeitch was very accurate when she wrote about the tour. I was the passenger she wrote about with dietary restricted needs.

        I am very grateful to CTeitch for sharing her rice cakes with me. If it wasn't for her rice cakes, I don't know what I would have had been able to eat for breakfasts and most lunches when other passengers were served sack lunches that did not met my dietary needs.

        I had to search, either by foot, bus, or cab, for markets where I was able to purchase survival-type food such as rice milk, jelly, sardines, precooked food, etc. during this journey. I am grateful I was able to find food.

        I am also grateful to the staff at the hotels in Rome, Florence, and Venice for their allowing me to store in either their freezers or refrigerators takeout food that I had purchased that met my dietary needs and ice packs to keep the food healthy in the hot weather.

        I appreciated the generousity of my fellow travelers and the anonymous man in Florence who ran the restaurant we ate at that night, for their support in aiding me in obtaining food, and their moral support during the times when I was hungry. I thank you.

Jewish Rabbi Busted For Online Sexual Solicitation And Attempted Rape Of A Child
Rabbi Nathan David (Nosson Dovid) Rabinowich – who runs a synagogue, the Ahavath Torah Institute, and tour company called Jewish Heritage Tours from his Midwood home – sent explicit electronic messages and also allegedly arranged to meet the “14-year-old girl” for sex in Queens.

A 59-year-old Brooklyn rabbi was arrested Wednesday for allegedly trying to solicit sex online from a police officer he thought was a 14-year-old girl.

Rabbi Nathan David (Nosson Dovid) Rabinowich – who runs a synagogue along with the Ahavath Torah Institute, which sells antique Jewish religious books and autographs of famous rabbis, and a tour company called Jewish Heritage Tours, all from his Midwood home – sent explicit electronic messages and also arranged to meet the “14-year-old girl” for sex in Queens. He used the online screen names “NYC-NORMAL100” and “NORMALGENTNYC.”

Rabinowich was charged with four sex crimes, including attempted rape. He was arraigned last night. Bail was set at $50,000.

His next court date is scheduled for March 7.

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