Two days after he was accused publicly of sleeping with prostitutes on the Sabbath, a Bellmore rabbi's ex-wife wants her kids back – and has turned to the Nassau County courts for help.
According to Avraham Rabinowich's ex-wife, Amora Rachelle, the rabbi took their three children on June 21, and has refused to return them, despite an order from the Nassau County Family Court.
Rachelle said the rabbi is holding the kids hostage to keep her from relocating to be with her fiance in California. She also said the attempted relocation is a result of "ongoing emotional and economic abuse" by Rabinowich.
An ugly custody battle has been ongoing since their 2004 divorce.
After an initial case for custody ended in 2006, Rabinowich then accused his ex-wife with abuse, but the courts tossed out that accusation earlier this year.
Rachelle petitioned for a temporary order of protection from the Nassau County Family Court on May 9. The order prohibits Rabinowich from interacting with Rachelle "except in connection with court ordered visitation with the children," along with several other stipulations.
"It's not about a vengeful ex-wife ... it's about the safety and well-being of my children," Rachelle told Patch.
"I am coming forward to expose the truth and the share the injustice that my children and I have suffered at the hand of Rabbi Avraham Rabinowich," Rachelle wrote in her blog on July 11. "The purpose of coming forward at this moment is to put an end to the abuse and pain inflicted upon us by my ex-husband."
Rabinowich has been an orthodox rabbi at the Bellmore Jewish Center since 2005.
A phone call to Rabinowich's lawyer, Jeffrey Lewisohn, was not immediately returned. Several calls to Rabinowich's home were also not answered.