Accountability and transparency within our institutions and leadership.
posted by jewishwhistleblower @ 4:10 PM
http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=10763(04/13/2005)RCA Answers Tendler Charges Debra Nussbaum Cohen The Rabbinical Council of America issued a strongly worded statement Tuesday rebutting criticism from Rabbi Mordecai Tendler and his supporters over his expulsion last month from the Orthodox rabbis’ group. Rabbi Tendler and his supporters, who include prominent Orthodox rabbis, have made public statements indicating that he tried to provide his side of the story to the RCA in person and they consider the organization’s move to be illegitimate. Also, a religious court in Israel allegedly complained to the RCA that it should have convened a bet din, or religious tribunal. Sources said supporters of Rabbi Tendler hired a rabbinic lawyer in Israel to initiate the claim. (cont)
The RCA statement said the investigation “was not, and never purported to be, in the nature of a bet din proceeding” but rather a peer review. “We felt that clarification was necessary in light of the efforts by Rabbi Tendler and those who support him to discredit the RCA and the process by which we arrived at our conclusion,” said Rabbi Basil Herring, the organization’s executive vice president. According to the statement, it was issued “in light of a concerted campaign to mischaracterize, misrepresent and distort both the process and its outcome, as well as to demean the eminent and distinguished rabbis who were part of the process.” (cont)
The investigation took a year, the statement said, “because the Vaad Hakavod [ethics committee] made every effort to follow all the relevant halachic, legal as well as moral guidelines and laws both as regards procedure and substance. It said Rabbi Tendler “was given repeated opportunities prior to the issuance of the decision to respond to the charges … as well as to appear in an appropriate hearing and face his accusers. However he … clearly and unambiguously turned down in writing such invitations to appear before the Vaad Hakavod. “Only after the decision was communicated to him did he offer to appear,” the statement said. Rabbi Tendler was expelled for refusing to cooperate with an RCA investigation into allegations that he had sexually pursued several women he was counseling and had engaged in affairs with some of them. The RCA also cited “conduct inappropriate for an Orthodox rabbi,” but declined to be more specific.
To read the Text of the letter written by Tendler's attorney to the RCA go to "JewishIdea.blogspot.com"
THE RCA BLINKED FIRST. RABBI TENDLER HAS WON. THE REST OF THE GAME IS JUST ABOUT CONFIRMING IT. IT IS NOT ESTABLISHED THAT THE RCA CANNOT SIMPLY HIDE IN THEIR IVORY TOWER. THEY ARE SUBJECT TO PRESSURE. RABBI TENDLER WILL KEPP IT UP, ESPECIALLY SINCE THIS STATEMENT AND IT'S PUBLICATION IN THE JEWISH WEEK SUBJECTS THE RCA AND IT'S EXECUTIVE TO A SERUV FROM THE RABBNUT. DAVID HAS ONE AGAIN BEATEN GOLIATH.
Viewing this strategically, the question is: Now what? Does the RCA fight the beis din? do they go and show their evidence? do they allow any of it to be leaked publicly? do they ignore the hazmanah? RMT already moved his piece. It's RCA's turn.So far, both sides won. RMT is still in power, and nobody who isn't a chossid of his will go to him for advice anymore. A psak of beis din either way, or a leak of evidence, if any, could change this.
The following came from Luke Ford's web page (http://www.lukeford.net)Rabbi Mordecai Tendler CaseWhat do you do when someone has been manipulated into having sex with a religious leader, father figure and spiritual guide?What do you do when a community attacks the victim for being brave enough to come forward?What do you do when there could be concrete evidence a high-flying Orthodox rabbi had sexual relations with a woman other then his wife?What should the survivor do if she fears for his or her emotional and physical safety if the evidence went public knowledge? Remember the survivor already feels like she's been victimized by their community. The survivor may feel humiliated that they were manipulated into having a sexual relationship. Especially when the survivor thought that the offender really loved her, and then later learned that it was only for the offender's own personal pleasure, and the need of feeling in control of another.
At 2:55 PM, Anonymous said... “DAVID HAS ONE AGAIN BEATEN GOLIATH.”He’s not David he’s Korach leading you into the pit. The Messiah which you fantasize him to be, he is not. The real messiah brings peace. He’s only brought dis-unity. He’s not on 720 Union Road; he's on Brick Church road of Avodah Zarah. Henceforth you will be known as Korach kool aid followers.
Have been following this story/events with interest. Just went to the Luke Ford website. This man is a virulent Jew hater.My question: Is it possible that this is an old fashion libel- not a blood libel like the good old days- but a sex libel to make Jews/Judaism look bad????I am beginning to have serious questions about the veracity of the witnesses- according to newhempsteadnews we are now down to 12 propositioned women and 4 actual sexual advances...story appears to be changing..
At 5:32 AM, Anonymous said... Have been following this story/events with interest. Just went to the Luke Ford website. This man is a virulent Jew hater."Why, because he reports on and exposes predatory rabbis? The only Jew-haters around are those manipulative *&^%$#@ who prey on and exploit Jewish women, bub.
Excellent analysis by Luke Ford, at www.lukeford.net:The string of accusations by grown women against various rabbis, that said rabbis have used their position to manipulate them into having sex with them, marks a sad trend in the politics of sexuality, as well as the politics of Jewish egalitarianism. There should be legitimate cases in which women may turn to the law against abusive men of authority. Employers are not permitted to demand sexual favors, or even to use sexual language, under penalty of law. And minors are not even permitted the right to concede to sexual advances. Statutory rape is rape is rape. But when a grown woman depicts a rabbi's religious position as an argument to absolve her of responsibility for having adulterous sex, it infantilizes her, and sets back the cause of women's egalitarian role in religious society. If women are so helpless that an authoritative gaze from a clergyman, or even concerted pressure, even nasty, abusive pressure, can cause them to succumb and have sex with him, we must conclude that it's too soon to permit women to have regular intercourse (no pun intended) in an open and unrestrictive fashion. We must shoo all our women into the house and bind them in chastity belts, because they're childlike and unable to withstand temptation. A society of victims, unable to accept responsibility for their messes, is an infantilized society, one incapable of fending for itself spiritually and otherwise. We mustn't give in to the temptation of blaming our troubles on others. It is something only children do. Indeed, children and feeble minded people are entitled to be treated as potential victims. Grownups must account for their failures, even in the bedroom. Jane (who had a relationship with rabbi Worch) replies (and I've edited down her letter for various temporary reasons):Yanover's letter sounds all well and good. However, there is still no accounting for those who are in rabbinical positions primarily for the ego-gratification of power-over-others, using their mentoring and supposed 'spiritual' authority as tools of seduction. Has he no concern about those who pervert and abuse Judaism in this manner? Yanover wants to talk about the so-called 'infantalizing' of women, that's a crock. The minute all the women who've been abused by these cretins...speak up is the minute they stop being infantalized. For more on being infantalized, in fact, he should ask...about... 'Age-Play'. Of course Yanovers' going to have a "different perspective" on "these issues", when one of his main goals is to get you to remove your Profile page on his friend! Here's a suggestion for digging a bit deeper as a journalist. When those supporters tell you things like "he's the only rabbi who really understood them", or "the relationship was healing" or "therapeutic" ---dig deeper. Ask exactly what they mean, why, etc. If you dig deep enough, you'll eventually end up getting similar stories that we who came forward to complain have told--except with a different spin, of course, if they are still currently involved. Those of us who've come out on the other side, when we hear things like that, the alarm bells go off. It's what we, too, once thought and felt. But manipulation can be a fine art, and in the hands of certain narcissistic craftsmen, even the best of people can be duped for long periods of time. But do try to get more of his supporters to speak up. And be sure to question/ask them all about the BDSM Kabbala (yes it exists, two women I know have it although I've never seen it), ask them how their experiences of "timed orgasms" from his "voice-control" fits in with his teachings on Judaism, 'k? Yori Yanover responds:Luke, It's disturbing to argue with an anonymous person, "Jane," while I'm presenting a full name, and my address and phone number are in the White Pages. Why would she fear exposure by having her identity revealed to me? What is the implication about who I am, that this Jane fears criticizing my letter using her full name? What is the implication regarding the veracity and acceptability of her own views when she's not there for an open discussion, but prefers to hide behind a pseudonym? What is the implication when this blog gives equal credence to both views, when one comes from a real man and the other from what could very well be a fictional woman? "Jane" suggests that it's a bad thing that rabbis "pervert and abuse Judaism" by "using their mentoring and supposed 'spiritual' authority as tools of seduction." I couldn't agree more. But why does that absolve all who sleep with them of personal responsibility? Or, as generations of mothers used to say, "If he told you to jump off the Empire State Building you'd also do it?" Give me a break, barring physical or other violent enforcement, people, men and women, tend to sleep with those they want to sleep with. You slept with your louse of a rabbi it's your fault, unless you are a child or a moron (legally). "The minute all the women who've been abused by these cretins...speak up is the minute they stop being infantilized," says "Jane." Actually, no, that's when they realize how badly they've messed up and are looking for a way to salvage the life they've ruined by pinning the blame on the guy they just did it with. It's the post-coital cry of Rape, and it don't wash. And what am I to make of the assertion that "Of course Yanover's going to have a 'different perspective' on 'these issues,' when one of his main goals is to get you to remove your Profile page on his friend!"? Is this a grownup kind of discourse? Is this a rebuttal to anything I wrote, or an attempt to smear me by talking about my supposed intentions rather than my expressed opinion? This "Jane" could just as easily have written, "Of course Yanover has this perspective, because he's overweight, owes money at the grocery store and moonlights as a bouncer at Studio 54," with identical relevance to the discussion at hand. The only credible proposal "Jane" puts forth is that charismatic manipulation is tantamount to an assault, which would absolve the victim of responsibility for adultery. But what she fails to provide is a single book of laws, Jewish, secular, Muslim, anything, which backs this assertion. She's plain wrong, and her exclamation that those manipulative, charismatic rabbis are perverting Judaism, pales before the kind of damage she and the victim movement is doing to the Jewish idea of responsibility, which is essential to the very Jewish idea of T'shuva. This is why on Yom Kippur we clap on our own chests and not on the chest of the charismatic rabbi standing next to us. There's no free lunch, "Jane," no matter how many times you scream that it's the rabbi who made you eat.
Whether RMT did it or didn't do it is not irrelevant. The fact that what he did was a not a unilateral act is irrelevant. If he did it, he shouldn't be a practicing Rabbi. Right now it's HE SAID/SHE SAID, as no evidence in either direction seems particularly compelling (objectively speaking). Yori Yanover is right... a woman that sleeps with a man that's not her husband has guilt on her hands too... operative word here is "TOO".
Yanover needs to wake up to the fact that when such claims are made repeatedly by NUMEROUS former partners it becomes a clear pattern that can only be dismissed by those who refuse to face facts. His attempts to diminish ALL women as being infantile through this argument simply shows him as being the same sort of mysoginist jerk as his friend and mentor Mr. Worch.You might want to ask Yanover what exactly he "gets" out of supporting his "rebbe". Does Worch share all his sexual exploits with women 'round the world with him? Does Yanover get off on how Worch has honed his manipulative skills over the years?Please inform Mr. Yanover that all the various women who have stepped forward to speak out on those who pervert their positions of power---including his friend-----are by no means part of the 'victim movement', but of the 'exposing these damaging frauds' movement. Yes, each individual woman was responsible when they stepped into these relationships-----and each took equal responsibility when they walked out of them. They're hardly victims. The true *victims* are the ones who so foolishly continue to support these charlatans, especially when they are "well aware of their failures as human beings" over the years.Please inform him we do take consideration of the Jewish idea of responsibility----the responsibility to inform and warn others that there's a fraud in their midst who has no business whatsoever passing themselves off as any kind of 'spiritual' teacher.
not one of these women is a victim of anything.quite possibly, they have perpetrated one of the worst libels in modern Jewish history.alternatively, if they are to be believed, they are quite willing adultresses.leaving the issue of RMT aside, let us turn our attention to these women and the bizarre manner in which certain groups "protect" their identities as some sort of "victim". By their claims, they were all willing adultresses, both by civil definition and certainly halacha. How did so many ostensibly orthodox women become co-opted into supporting such basic violations of marital fidelity --given your acceptance of their claims without question. You cannot have it both ways, and the article posted at Luke Ford cuts to the core of the issue.Shame on all of the women who defend wanton lust and adultery over halacha and marital fidelity, then wrap themselves in self-righteous frumkeit.
" You cannot have it both ways, and the article posted at Luke Ford cuts to the core of the issue."-------The letter sent to Luke Ford cuts to the core of nothing; it was written by a blowhard of an enabler who has his head up his ass. Shame on him for sticking his nose where it doesn't belong.
and when the feminists recognize they have no credible response to basic logic, they rever to personal attacks....the logic of the Luke Ford piece remains unassialed; these women, at a minimum, are shameful adultresses to be banned to cherem for life; more probably they are lying, which would involve far more serious punishments
Tendler had no power over these women; that is a nonsensical discussion regarding women in their 30's and 40's. He had extramarital affairs with willing partners, if one accepts their stories. As a rabbi, that will be dealt with by the community.These women, however, are not victims by any definition. They chose to sleep with the local Alpha Male, period, rather than maintain their marriage vows to their husbands. At the country club, that would be the richest guy; here in Monsey that means the rabbi. I agree, this is a very problematic situation, and much more serious than whatever Tendler did as a rabbi. How are the women of the community keeping quiet rather than putting these women in the worst cherem possible? I liked the comment about the Bnos Yisrael...where are our women in publicly defending our marriages. I am very disturbed by this lack of intelliectual honesty, and excuse making for black-and-white halacha.A Monsey Husband
>Where, indeed, are our Bnos >Yisroel, as someone wrote?Give us your wife and daugther's names. When you're laguishing in the hospital suffering from cancer and your daughter's husband is busy working 20 hour days to pay the hospital bills and mortgages, we'll send RMT over to console them and exploit them at their most vulnerable time.Cretin.
I was SO pleased to see the letter from behind the mechitza, finally breaking open the dam of silence for all of us here in the shul.I have raised my daughters to be proper frum girls, and they are not stupid at all. That means making certain they understand that if they ever end up on all fours on the carpet of a girlfriend's home (much less the Rebbetzin) with her husband, even once would be 10,000 times too many to claim a lack of judgment. Now you expect me to look these girls in the eye and tell them that married women who were doing it, by their own word, over two years time were "victims"? How dare you try to force us to repeat such drivel and nonsense to our daughters. The Cause does not justify denying the truth, and you fool no one.I wish the supporters of these women would help a simply Monsey mother with the math: how many times, exactly, need a "frum" married women gets down on all fours for a married man before she is no longer a "victim" but willing participant -- once, ten times? twenty times? please give me a benchmark for use with my girls. When my eldest comes home from her new apartment on the Upper West Side and tells me that she has been having an affair with one of the senior partners in her Wall Street bank, shall I console her as a "victim" of his authority, because he said he loved her and would leave his wife for her, or smack her across the face? And that presumes she has not yet taken her own matrimony vows under the chuppa! Imagine of this is after years of marriage!And when I come home early one day next year to find one of these "victims" dancing the horizontal momba with my husband in my bedroom, do I accept her explanation that "life has been particularly tough of late, and she was mesmerized by my husband's authority (as in more wealth and power than her husband) and was a helpless victim that could not help herself? Have you declared open season on my husband and marriage next?The comment about how we compartmentalize frumkeit and what we see on Sex and the City was perfect.How DARE you try to co-opt us into blindly and silently supporting your nonsensical support of these women as victims! The are homewreckers and nymphomaniacs! It feels so good to finally be able to say that publicly and openly! The person JOFA most needs to ask mechila this year, however, will be some poor 11 year old girl molested next year by a teacher or Rabbi she trusted, who has no popular support because of the STUPIDITY of trying to equate her victimhood and suffering with the fallootin' tootin' of a bunch of married women who all knew better but understood that no matter what, they could claim a free pass from any responsiblity to their marriage vows -- or mine!An Outraged KNH Mother
http://www.advocateweb.org/hope/notanaffair.aspWhy It's Not an AffairRev. Patricia L. LibertyRev. Liberty is the Executive Director of Associates in Education and Prevention in Pastoral Practice, PO Box 63, 44 Main Street, North Kingstown, RI 02852 AEPPP@aol.com 401-295-0698The issue of sexual contact between clergy and congregants is complex. Whenever a minister is exposed for such behavior the aftermath is traumatic for everyone involved. Churches feel betrayed, victims/survivors are marginalized and misunderstood and the families of all involved suffer greatly. This article is intended as an informational and educational forum to increase understanding about sexual contact between clergy and congregants.Oftentimes sexual contact between clergy and congregants is dismissed as an "affair" between "consenting adults". This is a misnomer for several reasons. First, the relationship between a clergy person and his/her congregants is professional in nature. That means that clergy have a responsibility to use the special knowledge, skills and gifts of their call for the benefit of those they serve namely their congregants. It also means that clergy have a responsibility to establish healthy professional relationships. Because clergy carry moral and spiritual authority, as well as professional power it is ALWAYS their responsibility to maintain an appropriate professional boundary.In practical terms this translates into clergy not pursuing or initiating sexual relationships with congregants (regardless of marital status of either party) and not responding to the sexual advances of congregants who may be interested in a relationship with their pastor. It also means that clergy will not engage in sexualized behavior with congregants. Sexualized behavior includes jokes, inappropriate touching, pornography, flirting, inappropriate gift giving, etc.Since the ministerial relationship is professional in nature, it is inappropriate to call a sexual encounter an affair. Affair is a term used to describe a sexual liaison between peers, or equals. In addition, the term affair focuses attention on the sexual nature of the behavior rather than the professional violation. It also places equal responsibility for the behavior on the congregant. Since clergy have a responsibility to set and maintain appropriate boundaries, those who are violated by clergy's inappropriate sexual behavior are not to be blamed even if they initiated the contact.This is a difficult concept for many people to grasp. We want to blame the congregant (usually but not always a woman) for the sexually inappropriate behavior of the minister (usually but not always a man). As tempting as this may be, it is wrong because it is always the responsibility of the minister to maintain the integrity of the ministerial relationship. The temptation to blame the congregant is also a reflection of the difficulty people have believing that a person who carries moral and spiritual authority, who is respected and trusted, can also be guilty of misusing the power and authority of the office. That denial and confusion causes tremendous damage to victims who need understanding and support as well as to churches that need clear, ethical, theological and faith based intervention to understand their betrayal. Blaming the congregant also means a failure to call the abusing pastor to genuine accountability. The focus needs to remain on the violation of the ministerial relationship.The term "consenting adults" also reflects a misunderstanding of sexual behavior between clergy and congregants. It is assumed that because two people are adults that there is consent. In reality, consent is far more complex. In order for two people to give authentic consent to sexual activity there must be equal power. Clergy have more power because of the moral and spiritual authority of the office of pastor. In addition, education, community respect and public image add to the imbalance of power between a clergy person and a congregant. Finally clergy may have the additional power of psychological resources, especially when a congregant seeks pastoral care in the midst of personal or spiritual crisis, life change, illness or death of a loved one. This precludes the possibility of meaningful consent between a congregant and their pastor.In our work with survivors of clergy abuse we often ask the question, "Would this have happened if he/she was your neighbor and not your pastor." Overwhelmingly the answer is "no". The witness of survivors underscores the truth that the clergy role carries with it a power and authority that make meaningful consent impossible.When speaking of sexual contact between clergy and congregants, the term professional misconduct or sexual exploitation is more accurate. It keeps the emphasis on the professional relationship and the exploitative nature of sexual behavior rather than placing blame on the victim/survivor. "An affair between consenting adults" is never an appropriate term to use when describing sexual contact between a minister and congregant. Accurate naming of the behavior is an important step to reshaping our thinking about this troubling reality in the church, how we name it reveals our belief about it. Holding clergy accountable with compassion and purpose and providing healing resources to churches and survivors is dependent on an accurate starting point. Only when we name the behavior accurately can we hope to have a healing outcome for all involved.
A MODEST SUGGESTION: IF AND WHEN KNH GETS A RAV WHO CARES ABOUT TORAH AND MORALITY, LET HIM DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM OF "THE ADULTEROUS WOMEN IN THE COMMUNITY". UNTIL THEN: SHUT UP AND STOP TRYING TO COVER UP FOR TENDLER WITH THIS DRIVEL!!!
before you shout your misguided message (yes, all caps means shouting) why don't you prove that RMT is guilty first, huh? The RCA seems to be unwilling to back up their pronouncement of guilt, by going to a din torah, so you can't say "the RCA said he is guilty". Prove it.
"Who are the two midwives?"Old news. http://www.imamidwives.com/team/
"Who are the two midwives?"Old news. http://www.imamidwives.com/team/
Stop the music a minute folks. Some things here simply don't add up. (1) In Halacha (Tur and Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat), when there are two Ba'alei Din (litigants), Bais Din can only function when one of these Ba'alei Din has Bais Din issue a Hazmana (summons) to the other. Without such a Hazmana, BD cannot be involved LeHalacha. Yet, the Israeli BD that has come out with a negation of the RCA for booting Mordechai Tendler, never having issued a Hazmana to the RCA. How can BD function like this?(2) Prior to both Ba'alei Dinim actually standing before BD, the Dayanim (judges) may hear nothing of the particulars of the conflict between the Ba'alei Din. Yet, the Ba'alei Din (the RCA and Tendler) have never stood before this Israeli BD in a Din Torah. And, the Dayanim of this BD are now familiar with the particulars of the conflict. This is a Bais Din?(3) BD may not issue any ruling whatsoever, without the process of Hazmana and the Ba'alei Din having stood before the BD. Again, this Israeli BD issued a statement against the RCA without due process. Amazing! (4) In earlier times, there was a Bais Din Gadol- or a Bais HaVa'ad (a supreme BD). According to the Aruch HaShulchan (Hilchos Dayanim) among others, today there is no Bais Din HaGadol. All Batei Dinim are on equal footing, with a Nidan (defendant) given the option of choosing the BD. Yet, this Israeli BD claims that the RCA is compelled to adhere to its decision because 'From Zion comes the Torah.' Is this Israeli Bd claiming that they are the Bais Din HaGadol- something that LeHalacha, does not exist anymore? And, is this Israeli BD saying that the RCA does not have Zechus Nidan (the right of a defendant) to choose another BD?The reality is that any Talmid Chacham worth his weight in salt, is laughing at this entire spectacle. Another reality that must be considered, is that in the Yeshiva world (the world of true Torah scholarship), organizations such as the 1,000 member RCA, are as well a laughing stock- no true Talmid Chacham wanting anything to do with them.And Mordechai Tendler? Does he not yet feel enough shame to remove himself from public life?Rabbi Moshe
Stop the music a minute folks. Some things here simply don't add up. (1) In Halacha (Tur and Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat), when there are two Ba'alei Din (litigants), Bais Din can only function when one of these Ba'alei Din has Bais Din issue a Hazmana (summons) to the other. Without such a Hazmana, BD cannot be involved LeHalacha. Yet, the Israeli BD that has come out with a negation of the RCA for booting Mordechai Tendler, never having issued a Hazmana to the RCA. How can BD function like this?(2) Prior to both Ba'alei Dinim actually standing before BD, the Dayanim (judges) may hear nothing of the particulars of the conflict between the Ba'alei Din. Yet, the Ba'alei Din (the RCA and Tendler) have never stood before this Israeli BD in a Din Torah. And, the Dayanim of this BD are now familiar with the particulars of the conflict. This is a Bais Din?(3) BD may not issue any ruling whatsoever, without the process of Hazmana and the Ba'alei Din having stood before the BD. Again, this Israeli BD issued a statement against the RCA without due process. Amazing! (4) In earlier times, there was a Bais Din Gadol- or a Bais HaVa'ad (a supreme BD). According to the Aruch HaShulchan (Hilchos Dayanim) among others, today there is no Bais Din HaGadol. All Batei Dinim are on equal footing, with a Nidan (defendant) given the option of choosing the BD. Yet, this Israeli BD claims that the RCA is compelled to adhere to its decision because 'From Zion comes the Torah.' Is this Israeli Bd claiming that they are the Bais Din HaGadol- something that LeHalacha, does not exist anymore? And, is this Israeli BD saying that the RCA does not have Zechus Nidan (the right of a defendant) to choose another BD?The reality is that any Talmid Chacham worth his weight in salt, is laughing at this entire spectacle. Another reality that must be considered, is that in the Yeshiva world (the world of true Torah scholarship), organizations such as the 1,000 member RCA, are as well a laughing stock- no true Talmid Chacham wanting anything to do with them.And Mordechai Tendler? Does he not yet feel enough shame to remove himself from public life?
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