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Man accused of threatening rabbis needs help, not jail, victim says

Rabbi Sholom Lipskar advocates for mental treatment, compassion

Bal Harbor Rabbi Sholom Lipskar says he knows the man who threatened him.
Bal Harbor Rabbi Sholom Lipskar says he knows the man who threatened him.

BAL HARBOUR, Fla. – A man accused of threatening several South Florida rabbis needs compassion and mental health treatment, rather than time in prison, one of his victims told Local 10 News Tuesday.

Bal Harbour  Rabbi Sholom Lipskar and his nephew, also a Rabbi,  received threatening messages from Jonathan Robrish months ago, but they decided not to press charges, saying prison time "would have zero positive consequence" and have "no benefit whatsoever." 

However, Robrish, 42, did end up in jail charged with sending threatening mail to  Weston Rabbi Yisroel Spalter in September. Robrish was arrested last week and is currently being held on $70,000 bond at Broward County Main Jail in Fort Lauderdale.

Lipskar said he knows Robrish and his family.

"He was a decent kid. Actually I have pity on him because he lost it somewhere along the line," Lipskar said.

The rabbi said he worries that Robrish's mental health could worsen if he's convicted and sent to prison.

"In jail, without the proper attention, this guy could come out of there a really crazy guy," Lipskar said.

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To this rabbi who has worked with inmates for decades, justice would be mental help, not prison. 

Signs of mental illness may be apparent in Robrish's YouTube postings. Some involve drugs rants and prayer.

Prior to his arrest last week, Robrish stole from and burned his own family's home. Instead of prison, he went to rehab in Tennessee.

Now Lipskar said Robrish needs more rehabilitation, maybe permanently.  

"He does have proclivity for violence because he has already done that something that was dangerous," Lipskar said.

However, despite the violent threats, Lipskar said he doesn't fear Robrish.


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