Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Jewish Week article on the expuslion of Rabbi Mordechai Tendler from the RCA

25 Comments:

At 12:08 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=10672

(03/23/2005)
Orthodox Group Expels Rabbi
Sexual misconduct investigation of Mordechai Tendler ends with his removal from RCA.
Debra Nussbaum Cohen - Staff Writer

In what may be an unprecedented move, the Rabbinical Council of America has expelled Mordechai Tendler, a prominent rabbi from the Monsey, N.Y., area, for “conduct inappropriate for an Orthodox rabbi” and refusing to cooperate with the group’s inquiry.

In a two-sentence decision announced last Friday afternoon, the 1,000-member professional organization of Orthodox rabbis ousted Rabbi Tendler after an investigation for sexual misconduct that took some of the twists and turns one would expect of a prime-time legal drama.

The group had been investigating Rabbi Tendler for 15 months. The allegations go back years, and range from charges that he sexually pursued women who came to him for counseling to others that he initiated full-fledged affairs with them.

The brief statement said that “after months of careful deliberation,” the RCA concluded that Rabbi Tendler “has refused to cooperate with the Vaad [the ethics committee] in its investigation and has refused to appear at a hearing” and has “engaged in conduct inappropriate for an Orthodox rabbi.”

It added that “there will be no further comment from any official of the RCA on this matter.”

Rabbi Tendler declined to be interviewed, as did his wife, Michelle, a realtor with whom he has eight children. But a spokesman, political consultant Hank Sheinkopf, described the RCA probe as “reminiscent of the Salem witch trials” and asserted that “the charges are baseless.”

Sheinkopf said the RCA finding “does not substantiate any misconduct. He was not given a right to confront his accusers. Therefore he acted appropriately because this was not a fair proceeding.”

None of the RCA leaders interviewed recalled any member being expelled for sexual impropriety. One member was expelled some years ago over issues dealing with finances and kosher supervision.

Rabbi Tendler is the son of Rabbi Moshe Tendler, a renowned expert in biomedical ethics and a rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University. The younger Rabbi Tendler is also a grandson of the late Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, widely regarded as the 20th century’s leading interpreter of Jewish law in America.

Sources close to the investigation said the panel charged with looking into the charges was painstaking in its efforts to be fair. Rabbi Heshie Billet, a former RCA president who chaired the committee, is known to be close to the Tendler family. While some criticized the long process, officials said they wanted to have as much information as possible.

The RCA hired a Texas-based firm specializing in such cases, but the investigation took many months and some were disappointed that only Rabbi Tendler was interviewed in person, while his accusers were spoken to on the telephone. The report, given to the RCA some weeks ago, was said to side with the women complainants.

Ironically perhaps, the charismatic Rabbi Tendler has been known as an advocate for women who are chained to marriages by husbands who refuse to grant them a religious divorce, which only men can initiate according to an Orthodox reading of Jewish law.

Nine women reportedly had come forward saying Rabbi Tendler’s sexual advances and harassment had victimized them, and seven were interviewed during the RCA’s investigation.

The Jewish Week first learned of the allegations against Rabbi Tendler in November 2003, when several women attending a newspaper-sponsored forum on rabbinic sex abuse voiced their charges privately.

One of Rabbi Tendler’s victims, Batye Siegel, welcomed the RCA’s decision, but said that more should be done.

“I’m glad that there’s a little justice in this world,” said Siegel, who claims Rabbi Tendler sexually pursued her over many months about a dozen years ago, when she was his congregant, had five young children and was newly separated from her now ex-husband.

“I left the derech [the religious path] because this had such a profound negative impact on me,” said Siegel. “It made me lose my faith.”

She said the RCA decision does not affect his standing as the rabbi of his synagogue, and called for him to be removed from his “position of power” to prevent anyone else being “victimized by him.” Siegel added that she did not think the RCA move would “stop his aberrant behavior” toward women “but at least they’ll be forewarned.”

The impact of the expulsion on Rabbi Tendler’s professional standing, beyond no longer having membership in the RCA, remains to be seen.

While Orthodox synagogues are not required to hire rabbis who are members of the denominations’ allied rabbinical groups, being barred from the RCA will make it difficult for him to find work as a congregational rabbi elsewhere, some officials said.

“It’s a serious step for someone’s career,” said Rabbi Basil Herring, the RCA’s executive vice president. “The RCA imprimatur is valuable.”

In Rabbi Tendler’s community, the impact of his expulsion was felt immediately.

Sources close to the synagogue, Kehillat New Hempstead, which is near Monsey in Rockland County, said that other rabbis who had been teaching adult education classes there immediately began boycotting the congregation as a result of the RCA decision.

The synagogue is said to be divided between loyalists and critics, and has lost some families since the charges against the rabbi became known. Sources there said the congregation may not be able to formally fire Rabbi Tendler, who they said has a lifetime contract and whose family donated much of the money used to build the synagogue.

Calls to Kehillat New Hempstead President Eric Lafazan were not returned.

Even Sheinkopf, the rabbi’s spokesman, acknowledged that “the ruling is of concern to his synagogue.”

However, he said, “Rabbi Tendler is meeting with members of the community to reassure them, and has found that many of his supporters are said to be outraged about the unfairness of the process.”

Some locals said that Rabbi Tendler may leave the community with his family and start anew in Israel.

Michelle Tendler distributed a letter to their congregants this week on her husband’s behalf, asking for their support. In the letter she describes the RCA decision as “despicable.”

She noted at the outset that for the past several years the synagogue, the rabbi and his family have “been under attack by evil individuals with vendettas against [the rabbi] as well as the muckraking press. Now more than ever,” she wrote, the rabbi “needs your support.”

She went on to describe the charges against her husband as being “patently false” and the RCA’s decision as “a miscarriage of justice.” She then listed what she described as the facts of the case and offered to share with anyone who wished “the voluminous documentary evidence vindicating our Rav.” She concluded, “I ask that you stand with us and that we all stand together.”

Sources in New Hempstead said the congregation is planning to hold a public meeting Sunday night. Rabbi Tendler is expected to attend.

What is clear at this stage is that one of the leading rabbinic advocates for agunot, the women forced to stay in marriages to husbands who refuse to grant them a religious divorce, has possibly compromised his ability to work on their behalf.

Yet “the judgment of errancy against Rabbi Tendler does not wipe out all the good that he has done for women,” said Blu Greenberg, founder of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance and a longtime friend of the Tendler family.

“I feel simultaneously a sense of sadness and tragedy” about the rabbi’s downfall, “but also a sense of justice and hopefulness,” she said.

“The sadness is that this is Rabbi Tendler who carries a great name and legacy and has used his knowledge and authority to do so much good for other women facing the dread of iggun [being chained to a dead marriage]. Whenever such a person in our universe falls, particularly a friend of many years, it is painful.

“On the other hand,” Greenberg said, “ we feel great sympathy for the victims, who not only suffered past abuses but also had to face the ordeal once more in the public eye, going up against a figure revered in their communities.

“Today we know how lasting the scars of such violations are, and we must give credit to these particular women for the courage to come forward,” said Greenberg.

Despite the contention of Rabbi Tendler’s supporters that the RCA’s process was unjust, Greenberg said that in this case, the system worked.

“Rabbi Tendler was judged by an honorable and respected jury of his peers,” she said. “No matter where their collegiality or personal sympathies lay, the committee members judged on the facts, and I value this ethical and just process.”

 
At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a member of the shul and got no such letter from Michelle. Its only a ploy to garner sympathy for her sexual abusive and devient husband. Michelle derves pity and compassion as does her family, but denial will only compound the problem. KNH will hold a general membership meeting this sunday evening although letters to schedule the meeting have still not been sent. The Board is working feverishly in a lsat minute attempt o convince Tendler that he needs to leave the shul. Numerous Board members and members have met with him to implore upon him the need for him to leave. Tendler as of now is adament about staying. He has told Board members that he will not leave no matter what. He will continue to go to the shul even with 10 members. Board members will wait until Sunday night to serve him with a Hazmona to appear at Beis Din if he chooses not to leave. Rabbinic members of the shul as well will wait until after Purim to leave the shul. Other legal remedies are currently being investigated by the Board of KNH.

 
At 3:01 PM, Anonymous SULTAN PISH said...

BOLLOKS

 
At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done Sultan Pish.

Jewish Whistle Blower your are full of ****.

 
At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what intelligent comments.

 
At 3:36 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>Michelle Tendler distributed a
>letter to their congregants this
>week on her husband’s behalf,
>asking for their support. In the
>letter she describes the RCA
>decision as “despicable.”
>
>She noted at the outset that for
>the past several years the
>synagogue, the rabbi and his
>family have “been under attack
>by evil individuals with
>vendettas against [the rabbi] as
>well as the muckraking press.
>Now more than ever,” she wrote,
>the rabbi “needs your support.”
>
>She went on to describe the
>charges against her husband as
>being “patently false” and the
>RCA’s decision as “a miscarriage
>of justice.” She then listed
>what she described as the facts
>of the case and offered to share
>with anyone who wished “the
>voluminous documentary evidence
>vindicating our Rav.” She
>concluded, “I ask that you stand
>with us and that we all stand
>together.”

What a lowlife.

Any decent loving husband would protect his wife from the spotlight in such a situation.

Not this lowlife, he throws her right out in front of himsef to protect himself.

What a lowlife.

 
At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are two new interesting posts at http://jewishidea.blogspot.com/

Worthwhile reading on the Tendler controversy.

 
At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out the 3/18 Breaking News posts as to possible identification of JWB

 
At 5:39 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

"Possible"?

Impossible is more like it.

 
At 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How ironic that Tendler took another shul in New Hempseatd to a Din Torah 15 years ago to prevent its establishment and now his own Shul is planning taking him to a Din Torah to have him removed as Rabbi.

 
At 5:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

KNH membership meeting scheduled for this Sunday 8:00 pm at KNH. Anyone interested in notifying any of the news publications since Tendler will be appearing and speaking to the membership. Maybe a good time to get a comment from the accused sexual predator and abuser

 
At 5:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, JWB is denying his being identified, keep searching there (until JWB pulls it as the clues get too close)

 
At 6:00 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>Of course, JWB is denying his
>being identified, keep searching
>there (until JWB pulls it as the
>clues get too close)

You're completely wrong. I'm simply not the person you think I am.

 
At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JWB, regarding the annon postings regarding your identification, you state:

"I will give my word that if I am the person you are claiming with your clues..."

How does an anonymous person give us, your readers, your word?

Dont think that I will say right out your name, I have more compassion than you've shown on the Tendler children.

Anon

 
At 6:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>You have to
>play fair - you stand for
>integrity!

"Says, the sexual predator enabler."

Just because I do not agree with certain comments you make or how you make them - you call me a sexual predator enabler?


For the record, so that we are clear, you are affirmatively calling me a "sexual predator enabler".

My lawyer wants to know.

Again, please do not delete this post and I await your response.

 
At 6:44 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>Just because I do not agree with
>certain comments you make or how
>you make them - you call me a
>sexual predator enabler?

1) Rabbi Mordechai Tendler is a sexual predator.
2) You are here attacking his victims and critics and defending him.
3) That makes you a sexual predator enabler.

Hope that clarifies.

>For the record, so that we are
>clear, you are affirmatively
>calling me a "sexual predator
>enabler".

See above.

>My lawyer wants to know.

Please refer him to my lawyer.

>Again, please do not delete this
>post and I await your response.

As long as you follow the rules, your posts are safe. If you don't like the rules, hit the road.

 
At 6:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is on Rabbi Mordechai Tendler's head and the head of every person like you that has enabled his despicable behavior.

What a red herring.

Typical, every sexual predator cries the crocadile tears "...but think of my children and wife".

Rabbi Mordechai Tendler and his enablers never cried such tears for his victims or their families."

Never saw a red herring. Except in law school. One Clue confirmed.

Second time you called me an "enabler". Not nice. Dont attack me personally, only the message.

I do cry for the victim's families. But my reference was not the Tendler children versus the victim's children. So please read the posts carefully, and not as how you want them read. The reference was that JWB would not be immediately identified as I have compassion for JWB's family.(and apparently more than JWB has)

 
At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TO my readers.
I will be away for the next day or so so please do not infer my failure to answer any of JWB argument as any concession.

 
At 7:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Check out the 3/18 Breaking News posts as to possible identification of JWB"

What website is this at?

 
At 7:23 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>Never saw a red herring. Except
>in law school. One Clue
>confirmed.

You've never been to Yeshiva or to detective school obviously. You aren't very well read are you?

Again, all your "clues" are false.

>Second time you called me
>an "enabler". Not nice. Dont
>attack me personally, only the
>message.

Do as I say, not as I do?

>I do cry for the victim's
>families. But my reference was
>not the Tendler children versus
>the victim's children. So please
>read the posts carefully, and
>not as how you want them read.

Whatever.

>The reference was that JWB would
>not be immediately identified as
>I have compassion for JWB's
>family.(and apparently more than
>JWB has)

You don't even know my family and you don't know me, not even superficially. You certainly don't know my name.

 
At 8:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"At 6:56 PM, Anonymous said...
TO my readers.
I will be away for the next day or so so please do not infer my failure to answer any of JWB argument as any concession."

'YOUR' readers? hmmmm....

---talk of red herrings
---oversized ego
---overly obsessive on unearthing JWB's identity, must be --
Yori Yawnover!

 
At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't know if it is true, but I heard that any woman who has been abused by merdecai tendler can contact the following website to join the lawsuit.
http://imamidwives.com/team/

 
At 9:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SAVE KNH AND SOCIETY REMOVE TENDLER AS RABBI

 
At 7:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Protesters Rally Over Lack of Food at Siyum

EVERYWHERE BUT BROOKLYN, NEW YORK –Hundreds of thousands gathered in cities all over the world to protest the general lack of refreshments at the Eleventh Siyum of the Daf Yomi. Many attended under the guise of actually coming for the Siyum, but no one was fooled.

The Siyum Hashas was established to help thousands of people celebrate the culmination of seven-and-a-half years of being behind on the daf. The first siyum was held in black-and-white in the Philharmonic Zalle (whatever that is) in Lodz on Tu B'shvat in 1930, where, needless to say, no fruit was served. It has since grown to the extent that over a hundred thousand people would attend, largely thanks to it only being held once or twice per decade.

President Bush on his way to the Siyum Hashas
To recognize over seven years of hard work, partygoers celebrate by listening to speeches, dancing in place and fighting for armrests with people of questionable dental hygiene. Satellite hookups ensure that everyone, including the rabbis, will be dancing in place at the same time, which, admittedly, does help. The hookups are punctuated with shots of people in the audience not realizing that the camera is on them until the person next to them pats them on the shoulder, at which point they smile and point at themselves onscreen. The hookups also utilize a tape delay, in case any of the rabbis experiences a bekisheh malfunction.

The eleventh siyum, held primarily at Madison Square Garden and Continental Airlines Arena (both of which are usually assur to go to, according to a poll of everyone on the dais), featured numerous speeches on the merits of Daf Yomi, each including a basic summary of everyone else’s speech, so that no one could remember who’d given the original. “I figured no one else would speak about it,” one of the Rabbis was quoted as saying. Nobody spoke about the parsha, which, for your information, was called “Vayakhel.”

Most of the speeches were given in English, peppered with the occasional Yiddish speech to give everyone a chance to read their siyum booklets, which seemed to be devoted to food companies that sponsored the siyum just short of providing some actual food. This reporter has finished a single perek in yeshiva to more food than that. Granted, it took longer, but still. The lack of food was the theme of most of the Yiddish speeches, which went on for much longer than the English ones. The speakers went on and on to illustrate how hungry they were getting. Or so we assume.

Organizers of the party, however, were quite defensive about the issue. “We completely forgot,” said Yisrael Agudah, founder of Agudas Yisrael. “We thought the sponsors would bring it.” He then pointed out the special kosher food sold on premises, illustrating that there are are only about five foods that all sects hold as kosher. And one of them is Twizzlers. (Mike Schmutter)

[Mike Schmutter writes humor articles for TheKnish.com, as well as shopping lists for himself. He spends his days balancing a job, a family and an expensive comic book habit, all while trying to launch a writing career. He is also working on a novel that is going to portray the Golem as a superhero, thereby providing justification for everything, except for the family. You can contact Mike (really) at Imnotreallysure@juno.com. He currently needs eggs and laundry detergent.]

 
At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of the claims that I am reading in the postings are untrue, some are even the opposite of the truth.

The Board of his schul has not made any moves to get him to leave. They would not do so, even if they could fire him. They, and the membership, did not hire him so they cannot fire him. He created the congregation and let the members in.

Rav Mordechai did not throw his family into the firing line. His family jumped to his protection.

There are, rabbis and laity, in Monsey that are determined to get Rav Mordechai--some even are out to get all the Tendlers. (The Talmud says that a rabbi who has no enemies in his flock is not doing them any good.) The way that this matter is progressing makes me think that those people, and some whose advances were deflected by R. Mordechai, are behind these accusations and the way that they are being handled.

 

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