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JERUSALEM – A Brooklyn-born rabbi is currently in police custody in Jerusalem on charges of rape by deception after allegedly duping women into having sexual relationships with him using a false identity, a spokesman for the Israeli Police confirmed to Fox News Digital.
Rabbi Yosef Mordechai Paryzer, who moved to Israel some 10 years ago, allegedly used the alias Jake Segal, as well as other fake names, exchanging his religious garb in favor of more secular clothing to create a profile on dating websites such as Tinder and Bumble in order to lure unsuspecting women into relationships with him. One of the relationships reportedly lasted more than seven years.
Paryzer, 34, told the women he was dating – some of them simultaneously – that he was single, living with roommates in Jerusalem and working for a non-profit organization as a trainer for Seeing Eye dogs for the blind. Instead, he was a married father of two young children who worked as a teacher in a local Yeshiva.
One of the women, who asked to keep her identity private for legal reasons, told Fox News Digital that she met “this person” on Tinder and that his profile, which included photographs and a full name, “seemed very normal.”
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Brooklyn-born Rabbi Yosef Mordechai Paryzer, a husband and father of two, is currently in police custody in Jerusalem on charges of rape by deception.This picture of him shows him as his alias Jacob Segal. (Israel Police)
“We started dating in December, we went to public places and had very deep conversations,” she said, adding that “It took quite some time to actually have sex, and we were pacing our emotional closeness.”
After a few months, however, the two started discussing a future together, including meeting each other’s families, marriage and starting a family, she said.
“He was very much focused on the future,” said the woman, adding, however, that she began to notice some “barriers” each time their relationship seemed to be progressing. For example, she said, she was never invited to his apartment, which he claimed was because he lived with roommates and had no privacy, he did not want to spend weekends with her, he said, due to his moderate religious observance of the Jewish Sabbath and would often cancel dates at the last-minute feigning illness.
“There were explanations for everything,” said the woman, who tried several times to discuss the problems with him. “During our seven months together, we broke up twice and when that happened, it would take time for me to bring up the issues that were bothering me again.”
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The rabbi would use dating websites such as Tinder and Bumble to allegedly lure women into having sexual relationships with him. (CyberGuy.com)
“I am beginning to think that it was through this method that he was able to maintain this relationship with me,” she said.
It was during another fight just over a month ago that the woman began to uncover the truth about Paryzer’s true identity. Hoping to apologize to him after their argument, she went to the apartment where she believed he lived only to find no one there of that name. Confused, she remembered him mentioning the names of two women he followed on Instagram, and with the help of friends, managed to track them down. Both women informed her that they were currently in or had recently ended a relationship with him.
“Receiving a phone call like that from a stranger was very hard for them,” she said, adding that one of the women already had a hunch that he was not being truthful and had started making a list of yet more women she suspected he might be seeing.
“I contacted those women too and heard very similar stories,” said the first woman. “The conversations we had were devastating and very emotional.”
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Two women filed a criminal complaint against Rabbi Yosef Mordechai Paryzer. (Fox News Digital)
That was when some of the women decided to team up and confront him. Inviting him to her apartment with the other women present, they demanded the truth. Initially, Paryzer only admitted to being in relationships with all of them, claiming that he was lost and depressed. He refrained from revealing the full truth or his real identity. Only later did the women discover that he was married, with two young children – one that had been born in the last few months – and that he was a rabbi.
Another woman, who said she met Paryzer on Bumble last January and also knew him as Jake Segal, told Fox News Digital that in April, she had taken him to a family function where he had met her parents and siblings. A month later, the mother of the woman, who is also from Brooklyn, raised a red flag saying that she had tried to find out more details about Jake Segal, but there was no trace of him either in the Jewish community or online.
When she confronted him, the second woman said Paryzer claimed to be having a panic attack and was later unresponsive to her requests. That was when she ended their relationship.
“For about a month I was in this total paranoid state worried that I was going to see him with another woman because we live so close, and I didn’t understand why I didn’t bump into him. It didn’t make sense,” she said.
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An Israel Police spokesman said the testimonies of some 18 additional women who said they were involved in relationships with Rabbi Yosef Mordechai Paryzer have been collected. (Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
After being contacted by the other women and finding out the full truth, the second woman said she is still living with “all the confusion and all the lies.”
“I know there will come a day when I can release myself from that,” she said. “My friends keep telling me that I’m so strong but there are still times when I feel totally depleted and confused again. But I do have this underlying motivation to make sure that justice is served, and that no woman should ever be hurt by this man again.”
Earlier this month, two of the women filed a criminal complaint of rape by deception – the crime of having sexual relations under a false identity – against Paryzer, and following an investigation by the police’s fraud unit, he was arrested last week. The religious school where he was teaching promptly fired him.
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“Paryzer’s actions were immoral but not criminal,” Raanan Amosi, Paryzer’s lawyer said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “All social media networks and especially dating apps are full of lies, every adult knows this so anyone claiming these were serious relationships lacks logic and common sense. Once we have all the material for the case, we will be able to prove that.”
A spokesman for the Israel police said that so far, the testimonies of some 18 additional women who said they were involved in relationships with Paryzer had been collected. In addition, at least a dozen more had come forward since his arrest was made public, said the women involved. On Monday, a Jerusalem court extended his detention by a further seven days.
Ruth Marks Eglash is a veteran journalist based in Jerusalem, Israel. She reports and covers the Middle East and Europe. Originally from the U.K, she has also freelanced for numerous news outlets. Ruth can be followed on Twitter @reglash