Email Tampering Got R. Pilichowski Fired From Beth Jacob

Norm emails: After 10 days, you have succeeded only in “uncovering” the facts that the entire city knows. Your sources must be drying up.

Yes, Rabbi Uri Pilichowski was forced to resign, and it was very sad coming after his eldest daughter’s bat-mitzvah.

Very important: He was NOT involved in any sexual or financial misconduct.

His misconduct involved improper access to e-mail accounts. His motivation is not clear, but it was almost surely related to shul “politics”.

He and his wife will undoubtedly serve their next community well. Beth Jacob is being very careful not to jeopardize his future job prospects, but had to take this regrettable action on principle.

Luke says: I’m not sure of all the politics involved but R. Pilichowski was tied in with the previous Rabbi Weil regime and may not have adapted well to the shul’s new leadership.

Rabbi Uri Pilichowski

Here’s Rabbi Pilichowski’s OU bio: “Rabbi Pilichowski is Assistant Rabbi of Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, CA. He heads the congregation’s kollel, teaches at three of the city’s day schools, and at Netivot women’s learning center. With his wife Aliza he also co-directs the Youth Department at Beth Jacob. Rabbi Pilichowski is also the author of “Eis La’asos L’Hashem.”

Here’s a great OU video by Rabbi Pilichowski on “How to Train and Empower Your Youth Group Leaders”.

Rabbi Pilichowski has many great shiurim (Torah lectures) online about interpersonal relationships. Here’s one on “Facing Our Fears. Part four of four in the Interpersonal Relationships – How to Act and React to Those Around Us series.”

Part one of this series is titled, “How to Act and React to Those Around Us.”

Rabbi Pilichowski has a particularly apt lecture against gossip. “One of the 613 commands is not to insult other people. We’ll analyze this prohibition showing what the issue is with hurting another’s feelings. As an aside we’ll show how a three way discussion about this prohibition can teach us how sin causes an imperfection to the soul.”

Not only rabbis can get embarrassed, Rabbi Pilichowski teaches us. “How Can A Challah Be Embarrassed? In this shiur we will examine the three way argument among the Rishonim as to why we cover our challah on Friday night. We’ll put to rest the notion that bread can have feelings while teaching an important lesson in how to understand our Sages’ important messages.”

Here is Rabbi Pilichowski’s Youtube channel. He has 124 videos with an average number of views of just under 40.

I blogged March 20, 2008:

Rabbi Steven Weil has been pushing Rabbi Uri Pilochowski as his successor for the last two years (since the Orthodox Union CEO job came up).

Pico Joe says: “There is no way URI will become the Rabbi. As much as R. Weil will push for this, it just wont happen he is too charedi (religious) for BJ. They will pick some one from the outside like Shaarey Zedeck did in the Valley.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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