Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Friends in High Places

Rachel Ginsberg

President Carter was perhaps Rabbi Efraim Stein’s most famous friend, but certainly not the only contact he cultivated on Capitol Hill. Rabbi Stein, rav of the Faltishaner beis medrash in Boro Park, has put his forceful personality to use over the last four decades rubbing elbows with the top power brokers in the US government, primarily to help Jews who have found themselves in legal entanglements.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

rav stein with carterRabbi Efraim Stein shrugs off the glamour when he reminisces about his tête-à-tête with former US president Jimmy Carter as the two of them flew on Air Force One from Washington to New York in early 1980.

“We were close personal friends,” says Rabbi Stein, who got to know Carter when he was running for president, and later through missions to Washington as a political emissary of Rav Yoel Teitelbaum, the Satmar Rebbe ztz”l.

President Carter was perhaps Rabbi Stein’s most famous friend, but certainly not the only contact he cultivated on Capitol Hill. Rabbi Stein, rav of the Faltishaner beis medrash in Boro Park, is a captivating orator who’s put his forceful personality to use over the last four decades rubbing elbows with the top power brokers in the US government, primarily to help Jews who have found themselves in legal entanglements.

“The Satmar Rebbe gave me my first ‘job’ in pidyon shvuyim [redeeming captives],” recalls Rabbi Stein, whose wife is the Rebbe’s great-niece. “The first ‘case’ he gave me, about 40 years ago, was to help a Jewish woman who was locked up in a federal penitentiary — she got unwittingly involved in legal complications over her head. I went to Washington to visit Senator Javits, somehow used my skills, and got her released. From then on the Rebbe sent many cases my way.

“I’ve been blessed with much hatzlachah in this area, a siyata d’Shmaya that defies logic. Years later, when I parted ways with Satmar, I ‘stole’ something from them: I stole the mitzvah of pidyon shvuyim and kept it for myself.” Today, Rabbi Stein, no longer a youngster, is the rabbinic advisor and executive head of Dror, an organization that provides legal assistance and family support to Jews facing incarceration.

 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

 

 

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"