‘Rabbi’ of Dubious Origins Claims to Heal
A series of exposés and a hidden camerahave hounded “Elohim Gebor,” whosays he is a rabbi from Israel and claims toheal any sickness, including “cancer,AIDS, tuberculosis, diabetes, cerebraltumors, Down’s syndrome…” by laying onhands.“It’s what Christians call the supremegift of healing, the same as Jesus Christhad,” Gebor told The Tico Times.Channel 7 TV News reporters recordeda healing session on hidden camera lastmonth, for which Gebor charged ¢30,000($64), and reported the rabbi is not onlynot from Israel, but he is not a man.The report concluded Gebor is actuallya Nicaraguan woman who was naturalizedas a Costa Rican citizen 15 years ago, bythe name of Iliana Zambrana, 49.Zambrana is the name of the former presidentof the Fundación Visión de Vivir, anorganization in Tres Ríos, east of San José,which allegedly helps children with AIDSand youth addicted to drugs.IN a recent meeting with The TicoTimes, in which Gebor performed a “healingsession,’’ he denied he is a woman, butrefused to show any official identificationto the paper.Gebor said he came several weeks agofrom Panama, where he worked as a miraclehealer, to use his healing power to helppromote the Tres Ríos foundation.Meanwhile, Immigration saysZambrana and another woman, Dr. IlyaWilliams, “are the same person who hasused several names.”“The man’s name (Gebor) is not registeredin immigration systems and does notexist,” said a statement from Immigration.Immigration authorities said they haverecord of this woman from 1987 under thename Dr. Ilya Williams. In a Feb. 1, 2003,report in the daily La Prensa Libre, shecalled herself Menkh Tzenik, the “bearerof the new order,” and said she broughtmessages from the angels and cured bylaying on hands.Previously, a Dec. 1, 1984, edition ofthe daily La Nación called her a counterespionageofficial of Sandinista securityforces.BECAUSE of the bad publicity, thefoundation will have to close and perhapsundergo a management or image transformationbefore opening again, according toDr. Carolina Trejos, who says she was inline to become president of the organizationuntil the uproar began.Gebor says the reports are false.Channel 7 reporters and others “are sayingI’m this other person, and that’s nottrue,” the self-described rabbi said. “Youknow how things are in the press. They sayit’s a million-dollar scam, but in my poorbank account there’s not even $100. If it’s adivine gift I can’t do dishonest things. If I’vecharged it was to eat and to travel.”GEBOR’S name is also the subject ofcriticism. Costa Rican rabbi GershonMiletski told the press it is prohibitedamong Jews to say the name “Elohim”because it’s one of the names of God thatis spoken only during the reading of a religiouspassage.Gebor said there are other ways to spellthe Jewish name of God, and “Elohim” issimilar, but not spot-on.Asked why his parents gave him aname that means “God Almighty,” he said,“When I was about to be born, an old rabbiin Israel said I would do marvels with myhands. So my parents gave me this name.”He is 36, he said, and has been curingpeople since he was 18.A Web site called elohimgebordiostodopoderoso.com (Elohim GeborGod Almighty) that appeared deactivatedlast week published Gebor’s messages tothe late Pope John Paul II before he diedand to Osama Bin Laden, according to variousnational and international media.“I am the great Elohim, Supreme Lordand Regent, King of Kings, all-powerfulGod in my kingdom and my spiritual kingdoms,”the site said in Spanish.Gebor told The Tico Times he wouldlike to spread his message internationally –he already gave up on Costa Rica.“This land from now on is cursed byGod. It doesn’t deserve the message I havefor the world – that the world is close to itsend,” Gebor said. He said he has tried to emailthis message to CNN with no luck.TO prove he is what he says he is,Gebor offered to cure anyone brought tohim. The Tico Times took him LauraRojas, 21, who is deaf in one ear and 95%deaf in the other since birth. Her uncle,Tico Times ad sales executive RicardoRojas, accompanied her.Gebor sat at Laura Rojas’ head whileshe lay on a floor rug, inserted his indexfingers into her ears and left them there for15 minutes.He removed his fingers; Trejos struck atuning fork against the tile floor and held itto Rojas’ partially deaf ear. She did nothear it.Gebor reinserted his fingers and repeatedthe process, with periodic tuning forktests, for nearly an hour and a half. Rojascomplained at times that her ears hurt.“I’m not pressing, it’s the energy,”Gebor said.AT one point during the session Geborsaid, “She has to be hearing much better –the ears have opened and are amplifyingsound better, but it’s difficult for (peoplewho have been deaf since birth) to realizethey are hearing – it takes time to adapt.”Later, Gebor said he had found the“lesions” inside Rojas’ ears, and explainedthat when he found a person’s problem, hefeels pain in his hand.Throughout the session Trejos andGebor recounted stories of miraculoushealings Gebor had carried out, always asa vehicle of the “Holy Spirit.” Trejos’ ownfather was cured – he snored monstrouslyand had a voice made perennially hoarseby polyps in his throat, both of whichGebor cured, Trejos said. She also mentioneda 4-year-old girl in Panama whowas cured of paralysis and a woman whowas cured of deafness.Rojas, however, remained deaf –weeks after the visit.ACCORDING to the JudicialInvestigation Police, no legal actions areunder way against Gebor because no one hasfiled any complaints against the “healer.’’Costa Rica has laws against promisingmiracles for profit. Witches, magicians andothers who offer health through miraculouspowers for profit have been punished.Fraud penalties range from 6 months to10 years, depending on the amount ofmoney charged and the judge’s decision,but witnesses are necessary.Criminal lawyer Juan Diego Castrotold Channel 7 if someone were led tobelieve they were cured by a laying on ofhands and his or her medical conditiondeteriorated, the healer would be accountableto the law.
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