Thursday, December 20, 2012

Yeshiva Officials, Rabbis Knew of Alleged Abuse

More Students Say Nothing Was Done About Allegations

After the Forward published an investigation into sexual abuse allegations against two former staff members at a high school for boys run by Yeshiva University, Y.U. issued an immediate statement and said that it would investigate. Later that day, Modern Orthodoxy’s official rabbinic association, the Rabbinical Council of America, said it was “deeply troubled” by the report and confident that the university was “equal to the task” of confronting “improprieties.”

But interviews with current and former staff members of Y.U. and with high-ranking RCA officials, as well as with several former high school students who say they were abused, indicate that Y.U. and the RCA have known about some of the allegations against at least one of the alleged abusers, Rabbi George Finkelstein, for a decade or longer.

The Forward has spoken to 14 men who say that Finkelstein abused them while he was employed at Yeshiva University High School for Boys, in Manhattan, from 1968 to 1995.

From the mid 1980s until today, however, Y.U. officials and RCA rabbis have dismissed claims or kept them quiet. Some of these officials allowed Finkelstein to leave the Y.U. system and find a new position as dean of a Florida day school without disclosing the abuse allegations. Later, an RCA rabbi and a Y.U. rabbi warned the Florida school that Finkelstein could be a threat. And when Finkelstein’s next employer, the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, asked whether the allegations that dogged him were true, Y.U. assured the synagogue that there was nothing to worry about.

Maurice Wohl, the synagogue’s president at the time, “spoke to the responsible authorities at Y.U, who denied the charges outright,” Zev Lanton, the synagogue’s director general, said in a statement. “Later, the same authority, upon visiting Israel, offered similar denials, both to the chairman of the board of the synagogue and the vice president.”

In response to a Forward request for the identity of that Y.U. official, Lanton replied that the synagogue would “take outside advice” before responding.

The abuse allegations against Finkelstein and against Rabbi Macy Gordon, a Talmud teacher who served at Y.U.’s High School for Boys from 1956 to 1984, have shocked many in the tight-knit Modern Orthodox community. Even Jack Lew, the White House chief of staff, decried the allegations in his keynote address at the Y.U. annual dinner, held on December 16...



Gumshoe said...

Did UOJ have anything to do with the Mishtara questioning Finkelstein about molestation 4 years ago?

J Ziyuf said...

"The RCA’s executive vice president, Rabbi Mark Dratch, said he, too, was unaware of allegations against Finkelstein or any other former Y.U. staff members. Dratch, who is Lamm’s son-in-law, declined to comment on Lamm’s actions as Y.U. president."

How is it possible that Dratch never heard anything when he is the go to guy for every abuse report in the modern orthodox world? And in Finkelstein's case, every putz on the street knew something was going on for years.

OU Ziyuf said...

"Goldin said that he was not sure what he would have done if he had learned of such allegations in the past."

After Shmuel Goldin's outrageous yasher koach to Richard Joel, pretending that Joel's cover up behavior was something the opposite, this is just more B.S. calculated to cover up for YU's failure to protect children spanning back to the 1960s.

Anonymous said...

Gary Spierer, MD
Address: 78 Cromwell Ave, Staten Island, NY, 10304
Year of Birth: 1950
Effective Date: 02/29/2000
Action: Censure and reprimand with five hundred hours of community service and $10,000 fine.
Misconduct Description: The physician did not contest the charge of having been convicted in United States District Court, Southern District of New York of obstruction of justice.


Spierer was one of the 24 people who took confidential information from a friend to profit off insider trading in the infamous scandal when IBM bought Lotus Notes.

Spierer then lied to Federal investigators. The punishment listed above is what the NY State Board of Regents added to whatever other punishments he was given.

Spierer is affiliated with the 600 pound "Rabbi" Jeffrey Rapoport who heads the "semicha program for the UTJ / Tradtional movement. Rapoport calls himself "orthodox" to make himself more marketable in the kashrus & hashgochos field that he works in.

Anonymous said...

The IBM stock tip worth $50,000 you could say really wasn't worth it for Spierer. He was also charged with perjury and he had to pay the SEC alone a fine of $193,000. He probably also had to pay a fine to the Justice Dept. And because penalties & interest are retroactive from before the judgement, that means he had the IRS, NY State Taxation & NYC Finance all come after him.

Anonymous said...


Spierer was also ultimately sentenced to 5 years in prison.

Leopold Margulies said...

Vell, I'm not vone to usually stick up for VhyU, but fair is fair. How do you know dat every putz in da gass vas knowing about Finkelstein? Even UOJ did not say he vas conducting Putz in da Street interviews. And I'm not avare of my ex-employee Bungalow Putz Neuhoff conducting any surveys at moderne bungalow colonies in da country.

Anonymous said...

Since the RCA is investigating issues they should investigate what was done to a group of Rabbis including myself who received Smicha from YU, were placed in United Synagogue congregations by YU and were members of the RCA. We were either thrown out after 15 years or forced to resign. The revisionist version is that Rav Soleveichik of Blessed Memory gave Heterim for us to be place in non mechitzah shuls for two years to try to make them Orthodox.The truth is I and others I know were never given a heter by the Rav , but YU placed us and said it was ok and our instructions were to raise money for YU which I did to tune of over 1.5 million dollars. Why not investigate Rabbis who are members of the RCA who committed adultery and financial crimes in addition to molestation. Many talented Rabbis were forced to enter other fields because they were blacklisted in the Orthodox community because they served in non Mechitzah shuls. I was told by a past placement director of YU that I could not get a Mechitzah shul after serving in a conservative shul (at YU's behest) and should drive a cab. My wife and I were told by a past president of the RCA that we should "burn in hell" for being in a non Mechitzah shul. In addition the shidduchim of my children would be destroyed. I went public (see YU Commentator articles). Three of my four children are already married and have frum households.
Regarding the current YU situation, face up to it, hire a private investigator and make it public. In addition, it doesnt matter how old the alleged molestors are, if the charges are proven, throw them out of the RCA and put them in jail where they belong. If the RCA could ruin the lives of many Orthodox ordained Rabbis whose only crime was to spread Torah in non Orthodox synagogues, then the RCA must investigate and act on these latest charges and the other questionnable actions of members of the RCA.
P.S. let us not forget wife beaters. I have been in the Rabbinate for almost 40 years and assure you what I have said is true. I am one of the few Rabbis who is not afraid to speak out. As many know,in addition to being a pulpit Rabbi and professor I write for a number of syndicated newspapers. If there is information you would like to share feel free to contact me.

Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

Paul Mendlowitz said...

Rabbi Rosenberg:

A few people were asking how to contact you. Perhaps you would consider posting your e-mail address.


Paul Mendlowitz said...

Did UOJ have anything to do with the Mishtara questioning Finkelstein about molestation 4 years ago?


Finkelstein has been on my "hit list" for years!

Anonymous said...


Phone: 732-572-2766
Cell: 908-510-2300
Fax: 732-572-4674
E-Mail chaimdov@aol.com

They are a bunch of Slick Willies said...

Don't believe a word the RCA says!

They are very smooth & sophisticated when it comes to keeping whatever they want quiet, which is the majority of scandals in their case. Nice try by hypocrite Rabbi Shmuel Goldin by the way to take a swipe at the Agudath Israel of America about "sweeping under the carpet" when that's exactly what the RCA does ALL THE TIME. Once in a while they throw a bone of disciplining someone for public consumption and it will always be someone who is a weirdo like Mordechai Tendler.

The RCA is covering up for Marc Schneier's adulterous affairs & deviations from halacha during tefilla services. Not clear why. Maybe they feel bad for his father Rabbi Arthur Schneier.

The RCA is covering up for countless complaints of Rabbi Dovid Cohen of Gvul Yaabetz advocating tax evasion. This is because Rabbi Cohen was the camp rabbi for so many RCA rabbis at Camp Munk.

The RCA is covering up for at least one more rabbi committing adultery. There was a case that came before the RCA's Vaad about 4 or 5 years ago. The rabbi being judged is located somewhere out of town from NY. They hushed the whole thing up and no one has gone public yet to complain.

Seattle said...

One of the major advocates in the RCA for covering up sexual abuse is RCA Past President Rabbi Kletenik. He has been very outspoken about it, to the point that Rabbi Mark Dratch publicly criticized him. What's the matter now Rabbi Dratch, cat got your tongue? Kletenik recently was forced out of the shul in Seattle he led for so many years.

Paul Mendlowitz said...

Rabbi Dratch has been at the forefront of this issue way before it was turned into a "cottage industry" by many.

I can tell you from my perspective how difficult it is to be able to comment on every single person's action or non-action.

Mark is definitely one of the good guys!

Code Pink said...

Shmuel Goldin is the "new face" of the RCA.

Never has a head of the RCA been so to the Left.

Not only is the Avi Weiss crowd no longer in danger of being expelled from the body thanks to their buddy Goldin, but Goldin signed their atrocious PRO-GAY statement of "principals" that encourages openly gay deviants & their partners / "husbands" to be welcomed in shuls & their adopted kids in yeshivas.

Goldin wants to water down halachic conversion standards which almost seems to vindicate Tropper when Tropper claimed his scam was to counter rabbis like Goldin. Whatever problems Goldin's predecessor Basil Herring had, most of the substandard conversion standards at the RCA were fixed under his watch.

Shmarya groupie said...

I think you should leave Marc Schneier alone!


He is the only orthodox rabbi who is infatuated with Black people and received an award from NAACP. That is his only redeeming factor but one that should make him immune from criticism.

Toronto said...

Thank you for bringing attention to this.

YU does not have the exclusive on being staffed with inappropriate or just plain nasty teachers who make life into a Hell for defenseless children.

Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto like to call themselves a community school. It is a very large school system with multiple campuses run by modern orthodox but enrollment is open to anyone regardless of their level of observance. Non-orthodox are the majority of the co-ed student body. Some of the most powerful board members & benefactors always wanted the student population to be more orthodox if it were possible.

When I attended Associated junior high in the 1980s there was one teacher who sadistically persecuted students. Mrs. Ackerman was known as "the Ack". It didn't matter if you were in her class or not. She would periodically think up some new mean spirited tactic. Once in a while she would roam the halls looking for any student she get could her claws on. It didn;t matter if you were playing hooky for a few minutes or were on your way to the bathroom or library. She was a large & strong woman, all 6'+ plus and heavy set, who would drag you to the office and try to get you suspended just for briefly not being in a classroom. The two modern orthodox principals were part of the problem. Rabbi Pinchas Brumer was mostly aloof and could sometimes be very smug & heartless. Mr. Jerry Rosenfield had much more PR but could really be a bastard sometimes. I was punished severely once even though I had permission to go to the bathroom because my senile teacher Mr. Frankel did not remember giving me permission.

Ackerman was the first example I ever encountered of Jewish White Trash. She would wait until everyone was gone from school before going to Steve's Truck Stop to stuff her face with greasy slop alongside all the trans-Canada truckers who pulled off Highway 401. Oddly, the truck stop was in the Bobov building complex & you could smell all the treif cooking inside. Bobov later had multiple sex & physical abuse scandals. The police investigations ended when the perverts responsible fled back across the border to Brooklyn.

Brumer & Rosenfield, do you even care how you had the ability to influence many thousands of students to be interested in strengthening observance but instead made sure that they would always hate any semblance of Hebrew school and rabbis? Rabbi Balter cared but all his heartfelt speeches went nowhere because of the poison environment you fostered.

R. Wisler said...

According to the Seattle synagogue's web site, Moshe Kletenik is still their rabbi.

Anonymous said...

5 or more years ago a blogger named ModOx Rabbi was commenting on a blog known to be read by Rabbi Yosef Blau. He asked Rabbi Blau to comment on the non-stop rumors always following George Finkelstein.

Whether or not Rabbi Blau was online, there was no answer. I suppose while he pursued ex-OU employee Lanner, he could lose his job if angers certain powerful people at YU

Anonymous said...

the Forward is only interested in attacking Orthodox Judaism and using all of you as a ploy. ALL SHOULD STOP COMMENTING AND perhaps this would die out. The students involved are now remembering things that happened in the 60's and 70's AND 80'S . D. The bottom line is why didnt the parents go to the police. The excuse that they were afraid the children's reputations would be destroyed is ludicrous. I would have taken action immediately. DR. LAMM is being used as a fall guy. It would be best if all invilved no longer made comments to the press. Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

Highland Park said...

Rabbi Rosenberg, it's true that the Forward has an anti-orthodox agenda but why should that be a reason to let the molesters get away with it?

And why should the child victims be further punished because their parents made unwise decisions?

And why are you protecting Norman Lamm when he was one of the most powerful people in YU to know about it?

And if you really care so much about not patronizing anti-orthodox agitators, stop posting your rants on Shmarya's blog who is the umpteenth exponent of whatever the Forward is anti-orthodox.

Anonymous said...

Rabbi Kletenik himself incidentally replaced a rabbi who was ousted for having adulterous affairs:

Dear Fellow BCMH Member,

I am writing to you to report on last night's Shul Board meeting.

Near the end of the meeting was an agenda item to discuss Rabbi Kletenik's contract. It was intended to be a preliminary report from a committee consisting of Richard Berger, Marlene Kaplan and Louis Treiger. I had asked this committee to meet with Rabbi Kletenik and develop a synopsis of a proposal the Rabbi made to the Board prior to the last election that was not shared with you. The proposal called for the Rabbi to significantly reduce his compensation and for the shul to bring in an assistant Rabbi. The committee was to work with the Rabbi to flesh out the proposal and present a synopsis at the August Board meeting. Following the Board presentation in August, I planned to convene a congregational meeting to seek your input. This process would have allowed both the Board and the Shul membership to fully understand the proposal and for the membership to have an opportunity to provide input on the Rabbi's proposal to the Board.

However, the Board did not accept this approach. Although no vote was scheduled for last night's Board meeting, a member of the Board offered a motion to end all contract discussions with Rabbi Kletenik. This motion was not on the agenda nor was I advised in advance that it was to be offered. After a long and acrimonious debate where Robert's Rules of Order was debated as much as the merits of the motion, this motion was approved. Rabbi Kletenik's current contract with BCMH will end June 30, 2013.

I spoke to Rabbi Kletenik last night and informed him of the Board's decision. I will allow him to speak for himself at a time and manner of his choosing.

Please feel encouraged to share your thoughts and ideas with me or other board members as we move forward. It is too soon to suggest a process, but as one is developed, I will be in touch with you.


Chuck Broches

President, BCMH

Anonymous said...

The area of Dutchess County, NY, bordering Connecticut has been a summer vacation spot for over a century. In Amenia NY bordering Ellsworth / Sharon CT, a shul was established in the 1920 called Bais Dovid. Hurricane Diane in 1955 broke the area's dam which decimated the region. By 1970 there were only 12 families left and they decided to rename the place as the Conservative Beth David. More recently the place became Reform.

Their long time chazzan was a Dr. Jerry Steiner.

Is he the same Jerome Steiner living in the City during the year who was stripped of his license to practice medicine?

Jerome Steiner, MD
Address:451 East 83rd St, Apt 2
New York, NY, 10028
Effective Date: 11/21/1995
Action: License revocation
Misconduct Description: The Review Board sustained the Hearing Committee's August 24, 1995 determination finding the physician guilty of exercising undue influence on a patient for financial gain; sexual contact between psychiatrist and patient; gross negligence and failure to maintain accurate patient records.

Anonymous said...

Joshua L Sternberg, MD
Address 1: care of Klepfish, 1852 52nd St, Apt 24
Brooklyn, NY, 11204
Address 2: 16751 NE 6th Ave, North Miami Beach, FL
Effective Date: 07/26/1995
Misconduct Description: The Review Board sustained the Hearing Committee's March 15, 1995 determination finding the physician guilty of having been disciplined by the Florida State Board of Medicine for inappropriately treating a patient, ordering excessive tests and failing to maintain adequate patient records.
License Restrictions: Physician's license is permanently restricted prohibiting the physician from engaging in the private practice of medicine

Anonymous said...

Shaarey Shamayim is a major feeder synagogue to Associated Hebrew Schools. How many of those students were abused in the choir & youth groups by Harvey Ehrlich & Amram Bendahan?

For kids who became more religious than left of center modern orthodoxy, they were picked on not just by other kids but also the administration. Brumer was not terrible on that regard but Rosenfield is a jerk. There were some board members who knew about Rosenfield and were not happy about him.

Are you reading this Rosenfield? Maybe you're such an arrogant jerk that you don't even remember this being a component of something horrible you did that was dealt with by the board. I don't remember much about the Ack except that she usually had a nasty look on her face. I also saw her eating at the trucker counter which was the only time she ever seemed happy as she was gorging herself in full view of Bathurst St traffic. But I remember very well Rosenfields phony smile and that dumb Pierre Cardin logo he tacked on his kippa

Anonymous said...

Jerry Rosenfield does have a son who became yeshivish but I guess blood is thicker than water and it sounds like the events being described happened before his son frummed out.

Jerry sure does love kavod though wherever he can get it and so it helps that he can be a nice guy when he wants to be. From shlepper at Bnai Torah to president at Mizrachi Canada to having the Attorney General appoint him a Provincial judge.

Anonymous said...

Having been both a student and teacher at Yeshiva University during these years, I pose one question: Why didn't the parents of these students call the police. If it was my child I would have confronted these instructors and gone to the police and administration immediately and hired a lawyer. Had any of these students approached me when I was a young teacher of speech at Yeshiva College and told me of this I would have acted with vigor. Yeshiva University is a great institution. Let's not forget that many of today's Jewish leaders are products of YU. It is good that this horrendous part of the history of Yeshiva University has gone public so the individuals can find some degree of justice and peace. We are all awaiting Yeshiva University's response. It is still a great institution with fantastic teachers and Rebbaim.
Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

Anonymous said...

So far there is an anonymous accusation against Rabbi Macy Gordon . The accuser should come forward. Regarding being afraid to tell parents I know that some parents were informed by their children. Instead of remaining silent out of fear for their children's reputation they should have spoken out. I grew up in the Midwest and attended an elementary school where anti Semitism was rampant. There were only two Jewish children in the school; because we were poor we lived in that neighhborhood. Being beaten up because I was Jewish and fighting back was a common occurrence. I knew how to fight back and would have fought against anyone who molested me. Yeshiva students have to be taught to physically protect themselves against abuse.
Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

Anonymous said...

So far there is an anonymous accusation against Rabbi Macy Gordon


Anonymous said...

TO HIGHLAND PARK, IF YOU CAN PROSECUTE THE ONES WHO HIRT YOUNG KIDS, DO IT. I understand nightmares and terrors, I do not understand why the parents did not beat up the guilty if they violated their children.Sorry to me having respect for a rabbi has nothing to do with his harming my child. I WOULD HAVE BEATEN THE HELL OUT OF HIM.

THEY COMPLAIN ABOUT WRESTLING and have nightmares. This I UNDERSTAND and have compassion for them. I hate when people judge me for saying the parents should have acted if they knew.

I was born in a D.P. CAMP and my parents were in AUSCHWITZ AND BUCHENWALD. LOST MOST OF THE FAMILY. these are my nightmares NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO GO THROUGH LIFE LIKE THIS. , ESPECIALLY YOUNG TEENAGERS. . rabbi dr. bernhard rosenberg

Anonymous said...

1 day ago ... Ben, you just lost the respect of one of your last
Unorthodox-Jew A Critical View of Orthodox Judaism - Feedage.com
whoever wrote this please communicate with me. I do not know who you are and why you have stated this. will be happy to discuss it with you. I WRITE FOR NUMEROUS NEWSPAPERS, so I am not conerned about the so called following . I would however like to maintain my frienship.

Anonymous said...


tHIS ISSUE IS NOT ABOUT ME. I have help convict four sex offenders and do not protect them. I only do not want my school HARMED.


Anonymous said...

Many of us are very proud graduates of numerous schools of Yeshiva University. These comments are made by people who either have no allegiance to the school or have probably never attended. Schools such as Einstein medical school, Wurzweiler school of social work, Cardoza Law school, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Azrieli, Revel as well as Yeshiva College and the various Religious divisions of YU including REITS and JSS have provided leaders in all fields of the worldwide Jewish and general community. Attacking Yeshiva University in the Forward on an almost daily basis is a wonderful way to sell newspapers. While there are some who have legitimate accusations, there will be many seeking merely to sue for the sake of making money. Stop blaming the entire Orthodox Jewish world for the deeds of a few. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

Anonymous said...

Over the past few weeks I received communications from those who were sexually abused . I have learned a lot regarding the suffering they have gone through. Each person handles trauma differently and no one including me can judge their reaction to this trauma. The outcry of these individuals must be heard and answered.
Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

Anonymous said...

, I refuse to stop defending the institution which has produced great scholars and Jewish leaders. Attacking me for having an opinion or trying to discredit me as professor, says more about the writer than it does me. If they have proof by now the victims have hired an attorney. Now it comes down to follow the money. I do not work for Yeshiva University any more and hope that a reasonable settlement is reached for all concerned.
Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

Anonymous said...

I refuse to stop defending the institution which has produced great scholars and Jewish leaders. If they have proof by now the victims have hired an attorney. Now it comes down to follow the money. I do not work for Yeshiva University any more and hope that a reasonable settlement is reached for all concerned

Anonymous said...


Child sex abuse lawsuit against Holy Redeemer school principal thrown out
January 16, 2013 Detroit Free Press - A civil lawsuit against John P. Kiley, the Detroit Holy Redeemer school principal suspended in November after he was accused of sexually molesting a child more than 20 years ago, was dismissed Wednesday in Oakland County Circuit Court because too much time has passed since the alleged abuse took place, a judge ruled.Marlene Veres, a 36-year-old mother of two, filed a civil lawsuit in October against Kiley and the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, alleging that Kiley sexually abused her from 1989 to 1991 while she was a student at the now-closed St. Bede Elementary School in Southfield. Kiley was a teacher and basketball coach at St. Bede at the time.