Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Posted on January 30, 2011 by


Michael Jackson and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Summary of Shmuley’s Relationship With Michael Jackson

– Stole $259,432 from a charity that was part of Michael’s Heal The World Foundation

– Blocked from having his own pulpit in the UK after the British Charitable Commission investigated him for fraud, again was reported to have stolen about $250,000, but this amount he was forced to repay

– That British charity then dissasociated itself with Shmuley who continued to claim there was an association, and one of the appointed directors James Meiskin has also been charged with extortion and bribery

– After this Mr Jackson cut off contact from him, yet Shmuley was still acting on his behalf and approved Melissa Johnson’s taking over the Heal The World Foundation without Mr Jackson’s knowledge in 2002 (she is currently being sued by the estate)

– After Mr Jackson’s death made claims that Mr Jackson cut off contact with him because he wouldn’t enable his drug use, fails to mention anything about the charity. Why Mr Jackson would be seeking out a rabbi to enable him is anyone’s guess.

– Released tapes and two books of Michael Jackson speaking to him in private after his death

– In widely criticized attempts to stay in the news sought out Jon Gosselin and Michael Lohan after their family’s trials.

– His entire family seems caught up in fraud, lies and dodgy dealings, so maybe he should stick with preaching a little closer to home.



– Blocked from having his own pulpit in the UK after the British Charitable Commission investigated him for fraud, again was reported to have stolen about $250,000, but this amount he was forced to repay

Michael Jackson’s Rabbi Had To Re-Pay UK Charity; Cambridge Society Disavows Him
Friday, May 25, 2001
By Roger Friedman

Michael Jackson’s rabbi friend Shmuley Boteach, a publicity hungry clergyman who’s made a name for himself writing books like Kosher Sex, left England not a moment too soon.

Boteach and his wife, Debbie, were forced to repay the L’Chaim Society of Oxford University about $250,000 after an investigation by the charity’s trustees and the British Charity Commission, a government organization.

On Tuesday, Rabbi Boteach denied to me in front of witnesses at Court TV that he’d ever had to make restitution to the charity.

Shmuley, as he likes to be called, inveigled himself into the U.S. press when he emerged as Michael Jackson’s counsel and adviser last November.

Yesterday I spoke with a former assistant to Boteach in Oxford, England who knew the ins and outs of the now defunct L’Chaim Society. She said, “He was run out of town, in the old sense of the word.”

Valerie Harris says that during Boteach’s reign at the L’Chaim Society he and his wife Debbie lived in two large houses, one in Oxford and the other in London. The houses, she said, “were beautiful.” One of them was estimated in reports to be worth more than half million dollars. Harris says the Boteachs sold their Oxford home for an estimated 450,000 pounds British sterling.

“A guru friend of mine said recently, If you’re daft enough to give me your money, I’ll take it,” laughed Mrs. Harris. “That was Shmuley.”

Mrs. Harris also added that on many occasions Rabbi Boteach was known to take expensive vacations including ski trips to Switzerland. “He used to say he was going there to fund-raise. All his trips he said were about fund-raising.”

Switzerland by coincidence is the home of Marc Rich, former U.S. fugitive.

Rich’s close friend, U.S.-based Jewish philanthropist Michael Steinhardt, funds Boteach’s operation in New York and provides him with free office space. Last fall, it was Steinhardt who helped broker the deal to bring Boteach and Jackson to Denise Rich’s Angel Ball at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, the same ball at which Denise Rich famously gave Bill Clinton his new saxophone. Steinhardt was also responsible for helping put on the Carnegie Hall event.

Boteach, in my talks, or rather confrontations with him, on Tuesday, proves one thing. He can out-talk anyone and does so in such an annoying way that you’re apt to just throw up your hands and walk away from him.

He has an answer for everything. For example: He boldly claimed that the L’Chaim Society was still in business in Cambridge. “They’re the same organization as yours?” I asked. “The same!” he yelled.

However, the director of the L’Chaim Society of Cambridge, told me yesterday Boteach “has nothing to do with us whatsoever and we are considering a name change to stop the confusion.” Maccabee Avishur told me: “We haven’t heard from him in a year and a half. He makes no donations to us. When he was here with Michael Jackson, we didn’t hear anything from him. We have nothing to do with him.”

Boteach is also said by former friends of his in the town of Oxford to have left town quite suddenly, surprising them. Said Donald Silk, who knew Boteach for the decade he was there, “We loved and trusted him and he broke that trust. He threw over the job for a handful of silver.”

– After this stole $259,432 from a charity that was part of Michael’s Heal The World Foundation

Tuesday, April 09, 2002
By Roger Friedman

Michael Jackson’s Charity Woes

And speaking of Jackson, at last we have some answers about what happened to the infamous charity started in the fall of 2000 by the King of Pop and Shmuley Boteach (pronounced Boh-tay-ach).

The charity, called Time for Kids, was supposed to be part of Jackson’s Heal the World Foundation. But, as this column reported Feb. 18, Heal the World had been almost completely shut down at the same time Jackson was announcing this new effort with Boteach. Jackson’s personal accountant, Barry Siegel, wasn’t even sure the charity still existed.

Now, the 2000 IRS filings for Boteach’s Oxford L’Chaim Society have been made available by guidestar.org, and they tell an interesting story.

The filing was signed on Sept. 26, 2001, by Deborah Boteach, Shmuley’s wife and the mother of his seven children. It was received by the IRS on Oct. 22, 2001, indicating it includes the money raised by Jackson and Boteach at an event at Carnegie Hall on Feb. 14, 2001.

That event, a panel on child welfare that included TV talk show host Chuck Woolery and lawyer to the stars Johnnie Cochran, was supposed to be raising money for the Jackson/Boteach charity.

But the subsequent tax filing shows no money was given to children or any charitable causes at all. What it does show is a total of $203,185 collected from direct public support. At the same time, the charity’s expenses totaled $259,432. All but $20,000 of that was spent on staff salaries and office expenses.

Listed on the IRS filing are an organization president, secretary and treasurer. The latter two, this reporter discovered after making some calls, are Boteach’s sister and mother. The sister, Ateret Diveroli, repeated exactly what the mother had: “I’m not part of that anymore.”

Mrs. Diveroli insisted to me that her brother was “very honest” and had stopped working with Michael Jackson “because nothing was happening. He wasn’t doing anything.”

Nevertheless, Mrs. Diveroli could not explain what the Oxford L’Chaim Society was supposed to be doing with their tax-free bundle of money.

From the Heal the World Foundation Web site: What is Heal the Kids? “Heal the Kids is the latest charitable initiative of Michael Jackson. It is dedicated to promoting nurturing relationships between adults and children, and to fostering programs that help children gain the love, attention and quality time they need to prosper and flourish.”

Boteach had a good time with the money collected from sympathetic contributors. He lists $19,028 for “promotional” costs, and another $13,480 on unspecified “outside services.”

The main difference between the 1999 filing and this new one is that at least in the previous instance, Boteach claimed to send money to the real L’Chaim Society in Oxford, Cambridge, U.K. Not only are no charitable donations listed this time, but Boteach also failed even to fill in the line on the form explaining the purpose of his charity.

Boteach does list 10 separate anonymous donations from individuals, with most of them in the $5,000 range. One, however, was for $100,000.

The Carnegie Hall event was sponsored by the Seminar Center of New York City, which no longer seems to be in business. Their Web site has been disabled and their phone numbers no longer work.

Last year this column reported that Boteach who is famous for lecturing around the world on the subject of “Kosher Sex” had been prohibited from having his own pulpit in the United Kingdom after the British Charitable Commission investigated him for fraud. The commission accused Boteach of using funds for the Oxford L’Chaim Society there for an expensive home. The L’Chaim Society of Oxford has since changed its name and disassociated itself with Boteach.

April 02, 2004
By Roger Friedman

The list of con men and hustlers who’ve taken advantage of Michael Jackson continues to grow, especially where charity causes are concerned. Jackson has been in Washington this week talking about raising money for new charities, but his old ones are still dogging him.

You will recall that Jackson was involved in something called Heal the Kids with Rabbi “Shmuley” Boteach. I’ve told you before that the most recent filing for Boteach’s charity, L’Chaim Society, under which Heal the Kids fell, listed as one of its directors James Meiskin, a man currently in trouble with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office for extortion.

But it now turns out that when you call the number for the L’Chaim Society, all you get is a recorded message that says the charity is gone and so is the rabbi. There are no forwarding numbers, according to the message.

You can always hear or see Boteach on TV or radio giving his opinion about something or other and plugging one of his books. But one thing he doesn’t seem able to opine is where all the money went from the short-lived charity. And one person who might be interested is Denise Rich, who wrote Boteach a check for $100,000 in the fall of 2000 for the L’Chaim Society right around the time Boteach and his then pal Michael Jackson came to two of her own fundraising events.

That $100,000 shows up in the L’Chaim Society’s 2000 tax return. The same return shows no money whatsoever was spent on anything remotely charitable, just salaries and expenses. Rich, who is the victim in this case, thought she was giving the money to one of Jackson’s charities at the time. But a source of mine who was with Jackson at the time says Jackson never saw the money or the check. It went straight to Boteach and the L’Chaim Society.

Boteach — who is banned by the United Synagogues in Great Britian from having a pulpit — is best remembered for a quote he gave the London Independent in 1996. He said there is an 11th, unwritten Commandment: “Thou shalt do anything for publicity and recognition.”

Dieter Weisner, September 21, 2010

And Bashir was not the first one, who gained access to Michael via Geller. There was “the Rabbi” too. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.

There are many unanswered questions about the friendship between the Rabbi and Michael.

The beginning was when the Rabbi released a new book which he wanted to promote. And this should have happened in a public event in which he wanted to talk with Michael about the content of the book.

The title of the book: Kosher Sex.

„I said to him:“Michael, you can’t do that. It’s inappropriate. You cannot sit down and discuss about sex with this guy?” But he had given his promise to the Rabbi and nobody could stop him from doing it.” At the end it was still possible to convince Michael to drop it. „But this is how Michael was. He did anything what he could do for his friends. But it then took on a dramatic scale which became untenable and so Michael terminated it.”

It circulates a story about how it came to the fact that Michael and the Rabbi are no longer friends. According to that story Shmuley had not only the leading position at Heal The Kids but also at the Heal The World Foundation. Bills should not been paid and money should have been peculated, what moribunded Heal The World finally. When Michael noticed that, he immediately fired Shmuley and stopped every contact with him.

Dieter Wiesner was not willing to confirm the story for this article. And due to the brisance of these allegations, it’s no wonder.

What Wiesner confirmed was the termination of the friendship by Michael. “He did it as usual. Some day he couldn’t be reached anymore.“

Here I probed into the matter because I had also heard about that. “He simply didn’t accept his calls anymore. The same way it went with Geller later.”

Shmuley claiming the friendship ended over Michael’s use of drugs

Rabbi Shmuley: For two years, I really felt that I was making headway in helping Michael restructure his life, but once I saw that Michael was treating my advice as if I were a nuisance. I had to end our relationship. Was I gonna applaud as he slowly self-immolated? If I’m just another someone who’s afraid to tell him that he’s got to stop doing drugs, then what was I doing there?

Yet back in November 2003 he said it ended because their “interests went in separate directions.”

MJboard.com– How is your friendship with Michael nowadays?
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach- We have no real contact any longer. Nothing happened between us. Michael went back to the recording studio and I went back to my own work in teaching, writing, and broadcasting. We are not in a fight. Our interests went in separate directions.

Dieter’s response to this drugs claim:

Shmuley has released a book, which should base on conversations between him and Michael. He claims to be the one who ended their friendship, because Michael was medication-dependent.

When asking Dieter Wiesner about that, he laughed and said:“ That’s total crap. It was only from Michael’s side“. And the medication thing? “Complete nonsense.“

Wiesner is also doubting that the Rabbi recorded all of his conversations with Michael which are used in the book.

– After this in late 2001 Michael cut off all contact from him, yet Shmuley was still acting on his behalf and approved Melissa Johnson’s taking over the Heal The World Foundation without Michael’s knowledge in 2002 (she is currently being sued by the estate) (link)

How come Johnson’s case hasn’t been thrown out by the Judge so far? She prayed for extensions in the case on many occasions. On the other hand Johnson has quite a lot of e-mails backing her story. She claims that Shmuley Boteach approved her activities preserving MJ’s Heal The World Foundation back in 2002.

– In November 2003 he himself said he had had no contact with Michael in over 2 years, so how was he able to have the authority to authorize anything involving Michael’s name in 2002?

19th November 2003:

MJboard.com- Do you think Michael is in control of his own life?
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach- I can not tell because I have not spoken to Michael in 2 years.

– At the time he also claimed seeking out celebrities in order to get attention for Judaism was a mistake.

MJboard.com– Didn’t you say something about getting involved with Michael was one of the biggest mistakes of your life?
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach- No, I said that I made a mistake in believing that I needed Michael, or any other celebrity pairing, in order to get attention for Judaism and promote a Jewish message. And that is still true. Judaism has shaped the modern world along with its daughter religions of Christianity and Islam. It does not need Michael Jackson, or me, or any else, to lend it credibility.

– So I’m sure that his time in 2009 that was spent promoting a book involving Michael Jackson, a celebrity and arguably the most famous and talked about person in 2009, and aligning himself with two other male celebrities in the news, Jon Gosselin and Michael Lohan, was also a mistake. Now back in 2010 promoting his latest Michael Jackson book, “Honoring The Child.”

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Jon Gosselin