Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Jewish Press prints another crazy Rabbi Mordechai Tendler editorial

13 Comments:

At 9:33 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Does the Jewish Press not realize that virtually everyone involved in this story IS Orthodox?

I would note that their research appears to consist of reading the Forward and the Jewish Week. Virtually every assertion or question made is mere opinion and not based on any research or interviews.

You'd think the Jewish Press would learn after their smear against Rosenblatt over the Lanner coverage. Nope.


http://thejewishpress.com/news_article.asp?article=4489

The Orthodox-Bashing Never Ends:
The Jewish Week Follows The Forward`s Lead
Editorial Board
Jewish Press
Wednesday, December 15, 2004

In last week`s edition of the Jewish Week, Publisher Gary Rosenblatt was transparently falling all over himself trying to get in on the Forward`s four-month-old "scoop" on the Rabbinical Council of America`s investigation of charges of "sexual harassment" allegations against a "prominent [Orthodox] rabbi." But Rosenblatt — as the Forward did before him — fell flat on his face. Both came up with a pastiche of unattributed claims and innuendo, while the rabbi — who of course was named, with his pedigree duly noted — was smeared throughout the article. And Rosenblatt`s piece, though purporting to offer new information, was actually less substantial than even the Forward’s flimsy story.

In its August 27, 2004 issue, in a front-page article headlined "Rabbinical Council Is Probing Claims of Sexual Harassment," the Forward told us that:

The main union of Modern Orthodox rabbis [the Rabbinical Council of America] is investigating allegations of sexual harassment against the scion of a prominent rabbinic family, the Forward has learned.

We were also told that the matter came to the RCA in January, after "several women" brought the allegations to "a member of the RCA`s executive board who specializes in religious questions regarding abuse against women and children."

We were then informed that "several sources informed the Forward that a number of women have told friends and Jewish communal figures that ... [the rabbi] had propositioned them while serving in his role as either rabbinic counselor or religious arbiter;" that "Two of [the rabbi`s] accusers outlined their allegations in interviews with the Forward, but asked not to be identified"; that "A source who has spoken to several of the alleged victims told the Forward that the women were afraid to come forth. In addition, several alleged victims have refused to air their claims publicly, for fear of committing sacrilege by shaming a prominent rabbi."

We were also told that "[T]wo prominent rabbis, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Forward that they first heard about complaints regarding ... [the rabbi being investigated] several years ago"; and that "According to two sources, ... [the rabbi] reached a settlement with one woman who claims to have been seduced by the rabbi while seeing him for marriage counseling. When contacted by the Forward, the woman`s lawyer declined to discuss the case." (Emphasis added throughout.)

The Forward did almost identify one accuser who reportedly told the paper that 12 years ago the rabbi "propositioned her while he adjudicated her divorce and a rent dispute." Actually, the Forward acknowledged that the name given for her is not current and that she "now goes by a different name." In any event, it is not made clear when the alleged propositioning took place, but the accuser`s landlord was said to have denied that the rabbi sat on the beit din hearing the rent dispute and the rabbi`s spokesman denied the accusation, noting that it only surfaced 12 years after it supposedly happened.

And here is what Gary Rosenblatt had to say in his catch-up article entitled "Rabbinic Abuse Case Hits Snag":

A rabbinic investigation into charges of sexual harassment against a prominent colleague seems to have sparked its own controversy.

The Jewish Week has learned that a committee from the Rabbinical Council of America, the largest organization of Orthodox Rabbis in the country, has shared the findings of an eight-month investigation with the accused ... to allow him to prepare a defense.

It is alleged that the rabbi then contacted at least one of the women named in the report and sought to intimidate her, a charge denied by the rabbi`s attorney...

Also under dispute is whether the women who spoke to the investigator knew that their names would be shared with the rabbi.

There’s more, but it is worth pausing to reflect on what has already been said.

Astonishingly, it is characterized as controversial that an accused would be given the evidence against him and the identity of his accusers. For Heaven`s sake, how can anybody conceivably defend against charges without this information? Nor are we sure of what to make of the phrase "at least one of the women" who were allegedly contacted by the rabbi. But she certainly is not identified.

Rosenblatt goes on to say:

The nature of the charges and the stature of the rabbi and his family in Orthodox circles makes this a particularly difficult and delicate case....

"They [the RCA] are trying to do the right thing, but they are floundering," one rabbi, who asked to remain anonymous, said of the RCA committee. "They were hoping the investigator`s report would be more definitive one way or the other, but the nature of it is primarily he said, she said,` and now they are looking for more evidence."

Someone who has seen the report said it is not definitive, "but there is a lot of smoke," and it indicates that at the very least a number of "serious mistakes in judgment were made" by [the rabbi].

A meeting [of the RCA committee] is planned for later this month. Meanwhile, efforts are continuing to find "evidence that allegedly is out there," according to one source.

Several sources said a tape recording exists of a conversation between [the rabbi] and one of the women that indicates an intimate relationship. A cleaning woman originally from Jamaica told The Jewish Week that she worked for a woman ... who admitted to her that she had an intimate relationship with the rabbi. [Emphasis added throughout.]

Again a pause to reflect. This is pretty extraordinary stuff. Rosenblatt offers no evidence for his assertion that the RCA committee is having a problem because of the prominence and provenance of the rabbi. He also relies on the report of "one rabbi, who asked to remain anonymous" for his claim that the committee is "floundering." Rosenblatt acknowledges that there is no definitive evidence to this date but still goes on to quote someone who says "there is a lot of smoke" about "serious mistakes in judgment" by the rabbi. And his reference to the hearsay comment of the "cleaning lady" as the sole support for the existence of an incriminating tape, despite referring to several sources, defies belief.

To be sure, Rosenblatt does give names for two of the women who are accusers of the rabbi. However, one claims that an incident occurred 12 years ago and the aforementioned Forward article had reported that she has since changed her name. And the second of the two identified accusers — and Rosenblatt only gives us her maiden name in any event — claimed, according to Rosenblatt, that the rabbi was too probing in his questioning which she "felt" was "inappropriate"; "he was fixated on whether I was having an affair;" and he "used" information she and her husband gave him "to drive them apart rather than help them unite." Rosenblatt also quotes the second lady as follows: "He [the rabbi] helps so many people, but for every woman he has helped, I think there`s another he`s abused."

Why would Rosenblatt put himself through such grueling journalistic gymnastics to get into print with this — certainly at this point in time — non-story? Perhaps he’d been seething ever since the Forward beat him to the Orthodox-bashing punch in August. Indeed, he said this in the article:

The Jewish Week first learned of the allegations against [the rabbi] in November when several women attending a Jewish Week forum on rabbinic sex abuse voiced their charges privately, following the program.

The newspaper, while tracking the case through interviews with dozens of rabbis, women and others knowledgeable about the situation, chose not to report on it as the RCA investigation moved forward. But the newspaper changed its views after the story became public through an article in the Forward this fall and the RCA report was released [by the rabbi] through his attorney. [Emphasis added throughout.]

This clearly has the taste of sour grapes. Especially since Rosenblatt`s piece appeared four months after the Forward article to which he has added absolutely nothing. But more importantly, his apologia, with all of its indefiniteness, underscores what Rosenblatt was up to. This is not to pass on the merits of the charges. We simply do not know. More to the point, neither does the Jewish Week or the Forward. Right now, it’s still a matter of he said-she said. Yet this did not stop either newspaper from treating the rabbi as someone already found guilty.

 
At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a member of Rabbi Tendler's community, who knows both him and those making the allegations, I certainly stand firmly behind Rabbi Tendler. There are many, many issues concerning those making the allegations and I can list dozens (hundreds?) of women who have been alone with him and have only been treated with respect. The Jewish Week went overboard and, essentially, ran a smear campaign. Somebody said that such and such happened. The most amazing thing is the claim that somebody "leaked" the report to the Rabbi and thereafter he applied pressure to the women. Hmmm. Two possibilities - 1) He didn't do it in which case why apply any pressure? 2) He did do it in which case he ALREADY KNEW who the people are! It makes no sense. As to the comment that most of the people involved are Orthodox (I like the word observant better), this is not true of those making the allegations (at least as most would define that word).

 
At 12:56 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>As a member of Rabbi Tendler's community, who knows both him and
>those making the allegations,

There are 10 victims, 9 are co-operating with the RCA investigation, the 10th was paid for their silence reportadly $100,000.

>I certainly stand firmly behind Rabbi Tendler.

OK.

>There are many, many issues concerning those making the
>allegations and I can list dozens (hundreds?) of women who have
>been alone with him and have only been treated with respect.

As can be said for any person for who has been similarly accused.

There were hundrends of students that Lanner didn't abuse. The problem are the ones he did.

 
At 1:10 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>The Jewish Week went overboard

Nope, they went "underboard". They have similar information to what I have and they are being very cautious as to what they are using.

>and, essentially, ran a smear campaign.

Hardly, I would suggest that is the domain of Rabbi Tendler's supporters and the way they've attacked the creadibility of anyone coming forward.

>Somebody said that such and such happened. The most amazing thing
>is the claim that somebody "leaked" the report to the Rabbi and
>thereafter he applied pressure to the women. Hmmm. Two
>possibilities - 1) He didn't do it in which case why apply any
>pressure? 2) He did do it in which case he ALREADY KNEW who the
>people are! It makes no sense.

It's clear from my sources that Tendler was leaked information by someone high up in the RCA, who I will not name at this time. This was only learned of when Tendler made use of the information in the Praesidium report to alledgedly intimidate a victim.

 
At 1:11 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>As to the comment that most of the
>people involved are Orthodox (I like the word observant better),

I prefer the term "shomer mitzvot/shomer shabbos" but in this case I will stick to the more accurate term "Orthodox" as an observant person does not have sex with married women/agunot/women he's counselling. Not to mention the Yichud issues that are clear.

>this is not true of those making the allegations (at least as >most would define that word).

It's accurate of many of the women making the allegations, particularly at the time of the incidents and many of the additional witnesses who are backing up their stories with their testimony.

 
At 1:18 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

The phrase "Orthodox-Bashing" used by the Jewish Press simply no sense.

 
At 1:21 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>As a member of Rabbi Tendler's community, who knows both him

Have you not noticed over the past decades that many of his extended family have nothing to do with him?

That doesn't send any sort of message to you?

 
At 1:27 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

see: http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=10237

>Several sources said a tape recording exists of a conversation
>between Rabbi Tendler and one of the women that indicates an
>intimate relationship.

I will be posting about the existence of a tape over the next few days.

There are a number of people who've heard this tape.

 
At 8:33 PM, Blogger Avi said...

The vast majority of Orthodox Jews have an immediate reaction to these stories that really demonstrates the problem. Without knowing the facts we immediately go into complete denial and try to "explain away" the problem. The very fact that we want to immediately discredit the victim(s) is an indication that we are not being honest with ourselves about these problems.

We need to move away from being biased and closed-minded about these community problems. It's bad enough that incidents happen - it is horribly worse that we allow them to be covered up. The Jewish Press is yet another example of disgusting reporting that is certainly the honesty and integrity that our Torah DEMANDS! We need to stop worrying about what others will gossip about us. We need to be honest and speak up for those who are helpless...We need to change...Avi...

 
At 7:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone claiming that Mordechai Tendler's family (either immediate or distant) have nothing to do with him has no idea what they are talking about - and clearly do not spend any time in the vicinity of New Hempstead.

R' Dovid Feinstein (Rosh Yeshiva of MTJ) is personally giving hashgacha on the mikvah that is currently being built by R' Tendler's shul.

R' Tendler recently made a shidduch between a very close nephew (from his wife's side) and the son of R' Reuven Feinstein.

Within the last few years I personally saw R' Reuven spend Shabbos with the Tendler's.

Both R' Dovid and R' Reuven Feinstein have received prominent honors (kibbudim) at all of the weddings of R' Tendler's married children.

If the Feinsteins wanted to distance themselves from R' Tendler, they would not be spending Shabbos in New Hempstead, they would not be marrying off their children with his help (to his wife's closest nephews) and they would not attend the weddings of his children.

 
At 2:15 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>Anyone claiming that Mordechai Tendler's family (either immediate
>or distant) have nothing to do with him has no idea what they are
>talking about

Wrong.

> - and clearly do not spend any time in the vicinity of New
>Hempstead.

Again, wrong.

>R' Dovid Feinstein (Rosh Yeshiva of MTJ) is personally giving
>hashgacha on the mikvah that is currently being built by R'
>Tendler's shul.

And is that still directly associated with Rabbi Mordechai Tendler or is Tendler associating himself with it?

>R' Tendler recently made a shidduch between a very close nephew
>(from his wife's side) and the son of R' Reuven Feinstein.

Nothing to do with him, does not equal nothing to do with the rest of their extended family.

>Within the last few years I personally saw R' Reuven spend
>Shabbos with the Tendler's.

And this seems to be the total basis of your assertion, one single Shabbos. You're making my point for me.

Did you not consider this visit may have been necessary due to some circumstance?


>Both R' Dovid and R' Reuven Feinstein have received prominent
>honors (kibbudim) at all of the weddings of R' Tendler's married
>children.

Nothing to do with him, does not equal nothing to do with the rest of their extended family.

Rabbi Mordechai Tendler obviously wants to tie himself to the Feinstein name as much as possible.

>If the Feinsteins wanted to distance themselves from R' Tendler,

They do and have.

>they would not be spending Shabbos in New Hempstead,

You noted one single Shabbos.

>they would not be marrying off their children with his help (to
>his wife's closest nephews) and they would not attend the
>weddings of his children.

Nothing to do with him, does not equal nothing to do with the rest of their extended family.

 
At 11:41 AM, Blogger lachmeet said...

Nonsense. No Feinstein has been seen in Monsey for years. I can't even remeber if Reb Reuven or Dovid were at the last Tendler wedding at the Atrium. Furthermore, the New Hempstead mikvah is now a "satellite" mikvah of the Greater Monsey Mikvah Assoc. this is the result of no local Rabbonim wanting to be involved in a project with him. New Square, which oversees the Mikvah would also not participate with him. He is no longer a member of the Board of that Mikvah either. "Anonymous" needs to get the facts right.

 
At 2:30 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Reb Reuven and Dovid, don't want anything to do with Rabbi Mordechai Tendler.

Over the next months as things heat up with the RCA and Rabbi Mordechai Tendler, they will continue (as they have for years) not having anything to do with Rabbi Mordechai Tendler.

They will not be publicly or privately supporting him. They will not be helping him loudly in the open or quietly behind the scenes. They want nothing to do with him.

Anyone saying anything to the contrary is ignorant of their relationship with their relative Rabbi Mordechai Tendler.

Reb Reuven and Dovid are good decent people.

Rabbi Mordechai Tendler is a rasha.

I hope this clarifies things.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home