- Henry Sobel
Henry Sobel (
Lisbon, Portugal, January 9, 1944) is a Brazilian rabbiand an American citizen, and president of the Congregação Israelita Paulista(CIP), the largest Jewish congregation in Latin America, in São Paulo, Brazil.
While Rabbi Sobel was an infant his family moved to
New Yorkwhere he grew up and was eventually ordained a rabbi in 1970. In the same year, he accepted an invitation to be the rabbi at CIP and established himself in São Paulo, Brazil. In his own words, it "made possible my actuation in the social and politic fronts and gave me the chance of engaging myself" [ [http://www.visitsp.com/henry_sobel.html From God's country: Henry Sobel's pluralist city] , VisitSP.com interview] . As of 2007, he had two colleagues sharing the rabbinate, Rabbi Michel Schlesingerand Rabbi Yehuda Busquila. Sobel has one daughter, Alisha, born in 1983.
U.S. arrest and hospitalization
March 23 2007, Sobel was arrested in Palm Beach, Florida, accused of shopliftingUS$680 worth of neckties. He was released on a $3,000 bail and returned to São Paulo. [ [http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1101AP_Brazil_Rabbi_Arrested.html Brazilian rabbi accused of shoplifting] , Seattle Post Intelligencer, March 28, 2007.] He initially denied the accusations and then requested a suspension from his position at CIP. [ [http://www.metro.co.uk/weird/article.html?in_article_id=43556&in_page_id=2 Brazilian rabbi requests suspension after tie theft] , Metro.co.uk, March 30, 2007.]
On March 30, Sobel was admitted to
Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein. According to the doctors, due to "an episode of mood disorder, represented by a lack of emotional control and altered behavior." The hospital also informed that he had been taking large quantities of drugs to treat severe insomnia that "cause potential states of mental confusion and amnesia." On April 2, Sobel gave a brief press conference at the hospital. "I don't know where to start," he began. "I am taking relatively strong medications. Regarding what happened, it is very hard for me to explain the inexplicable. I do not have scientific and psychological knowledge to understand, explain and, much less, justify what occurred, but one thing I know: the Henry Sobel who committed that act is not the Henry Sobel you know." He ended saying: "I want to close with an apology, and I also want to make a commitment. I want to apologize for the distress that I caused, especially for having taken medication without a medical prescription. I want to apologize for the distress that I caused everybody, and I want to make a solemn commitment: I intend to keep on defending all the moral and ethical values that I have always stood up for, as a Jew, a man and a rabbi." [ [http://www.brazzilmag.com/content/view/8107/54/ Illustrious Rabbi from Brazil Apologizes for Stealing Expensive Ties in the US] , Brazzil Magazine, April 2, 2007. Retrieved April 5, 2007.]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.