Satmar rebbe honors notorious sex abuser with a visit to daughter’s wedding

At the wedding of Nechemya Weberman’s daughter, Satmar rebbe Zalmen Teitelbaum was an honored guest. Many Satmar Hasidim still believe the convicted rapist is innocent

Rabbi Zalmen Leib Teitelbaum, grand rabbi of the main Satmar faction in Williamsburg. Photo: Yossi718/Wikimedia Commons

Mar 10, 2024 2:20 PM


In a video posted to YouTube, Rabbi Zalmen Leib Teitelbaum, leader of Williamsburg’s main Satmar faction, is seen dancing with the groom at the wedding of notorious sex abuser Nechemya Weberman’s daughter.

The wedding took place last week, and the video was posted by an account named “Hasidim Worldwide.” Despite Weberman’s conviction in 2012 for repeatedly raping an adolescent girl who was sent to him for counseling, many Satmar Hasidim still believe he was wrongly convicted.

Weberman, who was and remains a respected member of the Satmar Hasidic community, worked as an unlicensed therapist, and was frequently referred to by Satmar schools for counseling troubled students, particularly those caught violating school or community rules, such as using the internet or girls who were texting with boys.

While his conviction rested on charges brought by only one of his victims, who had left the Satmar community as an adult, Weberman is believed to have raped or otherwise sexually abused many others who came to him for counseling. In 2013, Weberman was sentenced to 103 years in prison. 

At the time of Weberman’s trial, many Satmar community members helped raise money for his legal defense and tried to pressure his victim to withdraw her claim. In 2022, Teitelbaum stirred controversy when he visited Weberman in prison.

Weberman currently writes a regular column called “Tales from the prison walls” for the Kiryas Joel newspaper Vochenshrift, which is affiliated with Zalmen’s faction. In the header above Weberman’s column, the newspaper routinely refers to Weberman with honorifics reserved for rabbis and distinguished Torah scholars, calling him “pious and esteemed, and a friend to all the House of Israel.”

In his March 1 column, Weberman, 65, wrote that he was overcome with emotion surrounding his daughter’s wedding.

Weberman is an inmate at Shawangunk Correctional Facility in upstate New York, and a New York State database lists his earliest possible release date as October 16, 2055. 

The United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, an organization affiliated with Zalmen’s faction of Satmar, did not immediately respond to Shtetl’s request for comment on Friday afternoon.