Rabbi Pinto, who has no formal business education, only speaks Hebrew and won’t meet with women, is considered by Israeli real estate professionals as well as people in other professions and of different faiths to be a holy man. His supporters credit him with helping hundreds of thousands of people.
Some line up for hours to meet with the rabbi, who makes himself available to the public outside of synagogue services and the classes he runs, one day a week. He sees 5,000 people a day in Israel and 200 or 300 in New York, giving most people a quick blessing and others more time, claimed Ofer Biton, one of the rabbi’s two New York assistants and translators.
“I think I was very lucky to meet him at a very crucial part of my life: when I was 40 years old,” said Israeli native Ofer Yardeni, principal and co-founder of Stonehenge Partners. “I started making money and thought I was God’s gift [to the world]. He gave me the wisdom to listen to people, not to think with ego, but to think with the heart and the mind. He balanced my life very, very much.”
Yardeni said Rabbi Pinto is “a huge part of my life,” despite Yardeni’s not being religious.
One time, the rabbi had the foresight that Yardeni should not sell a building despite the exceptionally good price he was being offered for it. Office tenants who were underpaying for their space in his building ended up going out of business, so Yardeni recaptured the space; now, the building is worth double what it would have been had he sold it, Yardeni said.
Rabbi Pinto’s New York City synagogue, Shuva Israel, is at 328 East 61st Street, not far from his East Midtown home where he lives with his wife, Rivka, daughter of Rabbi Shlomo Ben Hamo, the chief rabbi of Argentina, and 6-year-old son, Yoel. The spiritual guru has written more than 25 books and descends from a long line of prominent rabbis including his father, Haim Pinto