The name Eliyahu means “The Lord is my God” in Hebrew, the language of the Torah.
In his daily life, Eliyahu Weinstein went by “Eli Weinstein, “Edward Weinstein,” and “Eddie Weinstein.” Mostly, he was known as “Eli.”
Eli Weinstein’s life was not a heavily documented one prior to his incarceration. But the image that emerges from the sparse biographical details, reveal an energetic, somewhat charismatic and charming young man.
Tall, fit, handsome in the Anglo-Saxon model is not the controlling aesthetic in the world of the Haredim. Considering that, Eli Weinstein, born 1976 was something of a ‘catch’ among the Haredi.
Weinstein came from a “yeshivish” family, meaning his father had passed through his religious education and was considered a respected male member of the community.
Young Eli, highly intelligent, was a former rabbinical student, who studied at the Talmudical College in Jerusalem after yeshiva in Lakewood. The study in Israel gave him stature back in the United States after completing his studies.
After returning to Lakewood, Weinstein decided to pursue more secular endeavors. In the early 2000s, Weinstein opened a used car dealership called “Tower.” A few years later he joined a real estate company, Mitnick Realty.
Eli Weinstein married within the faith, to Rifka, who rapidly bore him six children. The Weinsteins lived in a large, comfortable home at 596 Seton Circle, in Lakewood. The family had a “baleboosteh,” a live-in housekeeper.
It was from this position within Haredi society that Eliyahu Weinstein began exploiting his community to conduct his schemes. He targeted victims from the Haredi because he knew he was trusted as a part of the Haredim.
Eli Weinstein was one of them.