From left: LeBron James and Rabbi Yishayahu Pinto
Rabbi Yishayahu Yosef Pinto, a rabbi to the real estate community, has another star follower, with new Miami Heat superstar LeBron James reportedly turning to the Israeli rabbi whose American operations are based in New York, for business and spiritual guidance. James was seen in New York yesterday at a meeting on a private yacht with business executives and Pinto, according to TMZ.com, which first broke the story.
The specific nature of the meeting was not clear, although James is said to have paid Pinto a six-figure sum to participate in the meeting.
Pinto is head of two Israel-based organizations, one for men and one for women, that focus on the study of Jewish teachings and outreach to the poor. The rabbi established synagogues and schools and does charitable work all over the world, in Los Angeles, Israel, Venezuela and Moscow.
Pinto, in his thirties, is said to have a substantial influence in real estate, and The Real Deal profiled him in a piece which looked at his real estate work, including providing advice to Israeli developers in New York City.
But Pinto also has a presence near James’ new digs, with synagogues in the Miami area.
According to Moshe Git, who is the head of operations for Shuva Israel in Florida, Pinto sees up to thousands of people seeking spiritual advice on an average day. That number swells to “hundreds of thousands” during Jewish holidays.
“He is in South Florida quite often,” Git said, spending time at his group’s two synagogues in South Florida — one in South Beach and one in Aventura.
The Miami Beach site is at 1560 Lenox Avenue Suite 103, which is registered to Miami attorney Joseph Frantin according to the Miami-Dade County property appraiser.
Frantin told The Real Deal that the organization has been renting the 2,450-square-foot unit Frantin owns at the mixed-use building to Shuva Israel South Beach since September 2009. He said that, to his knowledge, the group liked the large private courtyard at the unit, which can be used for the ritual Sukkah, along with the fact that a number of followers lived nearby on West Avenue.
Pinto’s other South Florida location is at 2956 Aventura Boulevard in Miami Beach, which is just across from the Aventura Mall.
Shuva Israel Florida, a Florida non-profit corporation, was registered at that site beginning in 2007, but is now listed on the Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations as being inactive.
Pinto’s name appeared in the news after a Hasidic real estate investor who died in an apparent suicide had recently ended a real estate business relationship with Pinto with harsh feelings.