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Teaneck rabbi who had stroke gets new sex trial date

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Teaneck rabbi whose trial on child sex-abuse charges was delayed when he suffered a stroke five days before opening arguments was scheduled today to return to court in Hackensack on Sept. 16.

Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Roma scheduled the court appearance after an attorney for Uzi Rivlin said his client is out of the hospital and a rehab center and is recuperating at home. Roma then sent the lawyer, Howard Simmons, to Presiding Superior Court Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi, who set a Jan. 13 trial date.

Rivlin, 66, is charged with molesting two 13-year-old Israeli boys staying with him as part of a scholarship program. One of the boys had already arrived from Tel Aviv to testify, and another had his flight cancelled, after Rivlin was stricken in late May.

He was originally listed in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit of Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck.

The boys were brought to what was called “Camp Rivlin,” and stayed at the rabbi’s home in 2009 and 2010, under the sponsorship of an organization that he founded. Prosecutors said he fondled and masturbated both and forced them to masturbate him.

The 13 charges against Rivlin — who also had a stroke in the spring of 2011 — also include two counts of impairing the morals of a minor.

The FBI summoned local authorities here after the boys went to Israel police separately after returning from the U.S., Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said when his detectives and Teaneck police arrested Rivlin in August 2011. The rabbi had remained free on $175,000 bail since then.

Rivlin, of Congregation Beth Aaron, launched The Scholarship Fund for the Advancement of Children in Israel (Keren Milgot) more than 17 years ago. Through the program, hundreds of youngsters stayed with host American families and attended Camp Moshava, an Orthodox Zionist camp in Pennsylvania.

Many came from troubled or terribly poor homes; some were orphans. Two attended Yeshiva University, while others went to local yeshivas in North Jersey and New York, including the Torah Academy of Bergen County in Teaneck. One, a foster child, made his bar mitzvah at the Jewish Center of Teaneck while staying at “Camp Rivlin.”

STORY: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

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