Wednesday, March 23, 2005

JTA publicizes Rabbi Mordechai Tender expulsion from RCA worldwide

17 Comments:

At 8:15 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

The JTA which is a global news service publishes the following story:

http://www.jta.org/page_view_story.asp?strwebhead=Rabbi%20expelled%20over%20sex%20abuse%20claims&intcategoryid=4&SearchOptimize=Jewish%20News

BEHIND THE HEADLINES
In rabbinical sexual abuse case,
some see shift in Orthodox attitudes
By Chanan Tigay

NEW YORK, March 22 (JTA) — The decision of a leading association of centrist Orthodox rabbis to expel one of its members has highlighted for some in the community the difficulties of addressing sexual abuse in the Orthodox world.

Following an investigation into allegations from several women of sexual harassment, the Rabbinical Council of America announced last week that it had expelled Rabbi Mordecai Tendler.

Tendler had “engaged in conduct inappropriate for an Orthodox rabbi” and refused to cooperate with the committee investigating the claims, the RCA said in a statement.

Tendler referred JTA to his spokesman for comment on the case, though he did say that members of his synagogue, Kehillat New Hempstead, located near Monsey, N.Y., have been “very supportive.”

Asked if he plans to remain in his pulpit he replied, “Of course.”

Hank Sheinkopf, Tendler’s spokesman, said the RCA procedure leading to Tendler’s expulsion was “reminiscent of the Salem Witch trials,” referring to fraudulent trials in colonial America.

“A decent man has been smeared, his family damaged irreparably and a community injured after a prolonged witch hunt,” Sheinkopf told JTA.

He complained that Tendler was not permitted to confront his accusers and that information on the case was leaked to the media.

The charges against Tendler include claims that over the last few years he engaged in sexual affairs with several women, among them women who had come to him for rabbinic counseling.

Brian Leggiere, a clinical psychologist in Manhattan whose clientele is comprised largely of Orthodox abuse victims and offenders, said the case highlights the fact that the Orthodox community is beginning to “wake up” to issues of abuse among its leaders, but still has “a ways to go.”

“We imbue our leaders with a great sense of kavod, respect, and usually it’s deserved,” he said. “It’s a wonderful value, but when you have a community that over-idealizes” its leaders at times, “that’s a recipe that allows abuse to occur.”

In the Orthodox world, where marital matches, or shidduchs, are highly valued commodities, even the victims of abuse often remain silent for fear they will damage their chances to find a husband or wife.

Tendler’s expulsion reportedly went into effect immediately, though expulsion from the RCA does not necessarily entail removal from the pulpit. Some 1,000 ordained rabbis in 128 countries have membership in the RCA.

“Synagogues and institutions are entirely independent entities,” Rabbi Basil Herring, the RCA’s executive vice president, told JTA. “Therefore, it’s up to every synagogue to decide how it will wish to deal with its rabbi or its clergy or employees.”

Herring declined to comment directly on the case, as did several other RCA members complying with official RCA policy.

One Orthodox rabbi who requested anonymity said it was the first time the RCA had expelled a member following sexual abuse allegations.

The expulsion was based on protocols, instituted in April 2004, for addressing accusations of sexual impropriety against RCA members. The new protocols followed the highly publicized conviction of Rabbi Baruch Lanner, an Orthodox Union official who is serving seven years in prison for sexually abusing a student when he was principal of Hillel Yeshiva High School in New Jersey.

The Lanner case, in which allegations emerged that victims’ complaints had gone unheeded, has been seen as a watershed in the way the Orthodox community addresses sexual abuse.

Tendler’s expulsion is a particularly sensitive issue for the RCA, Orthodox insiders said, because he comes from an important family of respected rabbis. His father is the well-known bioethicist and Yeshiva University teacher Rabbi Moses Tendler. His grandfather was the late Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, who was among the Orthodox world’s leading experts in Jewish religious law.

Orthodox movement insiders said Tendler gained respect for his work on women’s issues within Judaism, particularly his approach to helping agunot, women unable to secure divorces from their husbands.

“As painful as it has been” for the community to start coming to terms with abuse issues, “I think it’s helpful when it comes to the fore because it helps people respond,” Leggiere said. “Generally people aren’t going to respond to a situation until you get past a level of denial.”

 
At 3:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tendler's membership is NOT supportive. The Board is attempting to convince Tendler to leave in a nice way, before its get dirty. Memebrs are already leaving. The Rabbonim of the shul who are educators and members of the RCA themselves, will no longer daven at KNH. The Board now realizes the only way to proceed is to have Tendler removed as Rabbi. They are suggesting a leave of absence, vacation, for at least one year. BOard to install an assistant rabbi after his departure. The membership and Board are all in favor (yes of course he still has a handful of supporters) of his termination.

 
At 3:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Infomation on the case was already sent to the Rockland Journal News and NY TIMES.

 
At 5:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations to the survivors and their supporters. May you all be able to find some peace and recuperate from all the stress you went through.

 
At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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

 
At 5:44 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

"Possible"?

Impossible is more like it.

 
At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep reading the 3/18 Breaking News blog which will identify JWB (until he deletes them for being too close)

 
At 6:25 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 6:46 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 7:24 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 8:13 AM, Anonymous jean joffen said...

he deserves what he gets,where there is smoke there is fire, al tifrosh min hazibur, learn your lesson in fundementals, a pity you cannot, perehaps basil is the red herring after all.

 
At 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tendler, you are a disgrace to the Jewish Community at large and especially in New Hempstead.Shme knows no boundries with you. do not try to destroy the good name name of the Jewish people for your own gain, Haman harasha tried and take heed of his demise. You have angered many, pleased none, learn this to be your future. You do not belong as a pulpit Rabbi or for that matter any Rabbinical post. You are a living shame and disgrace to anything Yiddishkyte represents. For the sake of your chilfren,grandchilfren,wife,mother-in-law, do the the right thing for once. Nobody,I repeat nobody in Monsey or the acceptable Jewish world want you or your name associated with Juduaism. Yoa are a shame and total disgrace

 
At 6:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who has been posting fairly negative items about MT, and is not a fan of his in any shape or form, I must say that posting a comment in the name of jean joffen is completely out of line and not necessary. You are disrespecting a learned old woman for no reason. Please re-think what you did.

 
At 9:31 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.]

 

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