Friday, February 26, 2016

Good Riddance To A Very Bad Guy! The Community Has A Responsibility To Make Certain He Never Resurfaces As A Rabbi Anywhere!

After lengthy battle, ‘sauna rabbi’ Jonathan Rosenblatt steps down

Accused of inappropriate conduct with teenage boys, rabbi to leave after 30 years at helm of NY’s Riverdale Jewish Center


February 25, 2016

Senior Rabbi of Rivardale Jewish Center Jonathan Rosenblatt speaks at a solidarity interfaith gathering attended by clergy, politicians, community leaders and activists at the Riverdale Jewish Center in Bronx, NY, Friday, May 22, 2009. (AP Photo/David Karp)
Senior Rabbi of Rivardale Jewish Center Jonathan Rosenblatt speaks at a solidarity interfaith gathering attended by clergy, politicians, community leaders and activists at the Riverdale Jewish Center in Bronx, NY, Friday, May 22, 2009.

Following a tumultuous year of sexual misconduct allegations and a community effort to bring about his ouster, Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt told his New York synagogue Wednesday that he would step down as community rabbi.

The decision was announced in a letter sent to the members of the Riverdale Jewish Center by its president, Samson Fine.
“Rabbi Rosenblatt has today informed RJC’s leadership that he intends to step aside from the Senior Rabbinate of the RJC,” the email read. “The Shul’s Board of Trustees was informed at this evening Board meeting and we anticipate discussing transition details the Board in the next two weeks.”

The Riverdale Jewish Center had decided to keep Rosenblatt in place despite protests over reports of sauna chats with naked boys revealed in an exposé in The New York Times in May 2014.

Rosenblatt, who denied any criminal wrongdoing but apologized for inappropriate behavior, had been fighting efforts by some in his Orthodox congregation to buy out the remaining three years on his contract.

Despite the controversy stirred by the article about Rosenblatt’s practice for years of inviting teenage boys and young men for naked heart-to-hearts in the sauna after racquetball games, he retained the support of community leaders.

In a letter sent to congregants on August 13, the synagogue leadership said it had decided that Rosenblatt’s own plan for moving past the scandal was the best of various alternate scenarios for the New York shul, which has been led by Rosenblatt for the last 30 years.

“Rabbi Rosenblatt shared his vision and commitment to continue serving our membership and partnering with the RJC’s lay leaders, staff and community,” said the letter, which was signed by the synagogue’s board chairman, Donald Liss; and Fine, its president. “He described how we will strengthen communal bonds between and among our members, maintain the financial stability of our synagogue and enhance the spirit of collaboration that exists between the RJC and the community.”
No one cited in the Times story that prompted the firestorm accused Rosenblatt of sexual touching, but several expressed their discomfort with his practices and described his behavior as deeply inappropriate for a rabbi and mentor. At various times, Rosenblatt was told by his congregation’s board or the Rabbinical Council of America to limit his inappropriate activity.

After the Times published its story, the RJC’s board of directors voted 34-8 to seek a financial settlement to get Rosenblatt to resign his pulpit. But Rosenblatt vowed to stay on, saying that removing him from his position would be a “disproportionate” response. Hundreds of congregants signed a petition backing the rabbi, while some signed a competing petition calling on him to resign.

Rosenblatt’s determination to stay was bolstered by the warm reception he received after a dramatic public apology in front of hundreds of congregants at a synagogue gathering in late June 2015.
“This is a crisis created by my own lapses of judgment,” Rosenblatt said, according to a recording of the speech transcribed by a synagogue member and cited in the Times. “I have brought pain to people, shame to my family and I have caused a desecration of the divine name.”

Yehuda Kurtzer, the only man cited by name in The New York Times story who had experienced an invitation from Rosenblatt to join him in the sauna, said he had been outraged by the congregation’s lack of action against Rosenblatt.

“Rabbi Rosenblatt has shrewdly managed his way out of this crisis with the advice of counsel, clearly managing his communications along the way, demonizing his opponents, and avoiding any significant fallout,” Kurtzer said in a Facebook post after the letter from synagogue leaders was sent. “He has hurt his students, he has further alienated his accusers, and his continued presence on the pulpit at RJC insults the dignity of our community.”


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PUBLISHED: 26 February 2016

gay aveck said...


Ron Yosef, an openly gay Orthodox rabbi and leader of the HOD organization seeking to provide a framework for homosexual religious Jews to stay within Judaism, was arrested on Sunday over suspicions of fraud and theft, NRG reported.

According to police reports, Yosef in the past allegedly stole 300,000 shekels from a building firm he was then working for, using fraudulent credit cards taken out in the company’s name.

When his employer discovered the theft and demanded the money be returned, Yosef allegedly posted false public statements claiming he was suffering from cancer and in desperate need of donations.

According to the allegations, Yosef then used the money collected based on his false cancer claims to repay his former employer.

Yosef first entered the public spotlight in 2008 when he founded HOD, an organization providing guidance to religious LGBT Israelis. Yosef himself came out as gay a year later.

Despite his orientation and Judaism's explicit forbidding of homosexuality in the Torah, Yosef continues to identify as an Orthodox Jew.

Anonymous said...

"Yosef allegedly posted false public statements claiming he was suffering from cancer and in desperate need of donations"

The Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 245:2 poskens like the Mishna in Peah 8:9 einer vos darft nisht but shnorrs is not niftar until he really needs to shnorr. Tosafos Yomtov says it's meduyek that he will also be niftar young. There is a similar Gemara in Kesuvos 68 brought down by Sefer Chasidim 125. The pirush Mili Dechasidusa there says there that when he shnorrs in the end as a true nitzrach people will not give him.

The Mishna Peah is mesayem that if the shnorrer goes so far that he fakes an illness, he is cursed to come down with the illness before he is niftar as well because he is oyver on the mitzvas Asai of Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof. Tosafos Chadashim explains that trickery to shnorr money is the opposite of Tzedek.

Wrestling with HOD and Man said...

Have authorities determined if Ron Yosef has any accomplices?

Has anyone seen Steve Greenberg lately?

YU - Torah Madua said...

Maybe Rosenblatt is the real reason for YU not taking any action against their militant openly gay musmach Steve Greenberg. He would call them out for the hypocrites that YU & the OU are in covering up for Rosenblatt because he is married to Rabbi JB Solovetichik's granddaughter.

Also interesting is that the Soloveitchik granddaughter married to Rosenblatt is Twersky. The Twerskys are (ex-)mechutonim of Viacom billionaire Sumner Redstone. Although Redstone later had a falling out with his former good friends, Tamar Epstein's family, and sued them, it is thanks to the Viacom stock he gave them that they are very wealthy & able to pay off the Kaminetzkys.

One more related point. Someone was talking about the Rav Shmuel Blumenkrantz in Williamsburg. He may or may not be related to the Rav Shlomo Blumenkrantz who lives near Torah Vodaas, but Rav Shlomo has fearlessly stood up to the feminist & corrupt gangsters in gittin.


Even after YU's Hershel Schlechter, in cahoots with the Kaminetzkys, egged on the modern orthodox public to launch into an orgy of attacks and abuses on him.

Anonymous said...

The Twerskys are (ex-)mechutonim of Viacom billionaire Sumner Redstone?

Its Rabbi Korff from Boston that is a son in law - not a Twersky - just google it

YU - Torah Madua said...

You are correct that Korff was son in law of that old womanizer Redstone who likes living with shiksas a fraction of his age, but Korff's grandmother is of that Twersky family, and the Korffs & Twerskys are generally very close. So I was using a broad interpretation of vos heisst mechutonim.

Old Torah Vodaas said...

Once when a mob of screaming Banshee women showed up at the home of R' Shlomo Blumenkrantz, what an ugly sight to behold. They were led by Hershel Schechter & that big mouth little child Jeremy Stern nattering into a bullhorn. The rov was receiving an elderly crippled visitor who was wheelchair bound. The mob started screaming obscenities at him & mocking his disability. The poor man was about 85 years old and had no connection to Aharon Friedman. So who do these feminist monsters think they are with all the issurei Orayseh they inflicted on him? As far as I know Hershel Schechter didn't do anything to stop that segment of the protest.

Some of the appalled neighbors & passersby told the mob to get lost & take Belsky with them, al pi hoyroas the gadol hador Rav Elyashev shlita (now zatzal)

Echter yid said...

It's a tremendous disgrace for all the people who kept on fighting for him to stay on his position especially since the rumors started to leak out about his sick behavior, I really really don't understand and I really don't get it why people are so sick and so crazy and so blind to realize when someone has to be removed from his position,? Especially when it comes to children,? Especially when children are in danger or in harm's way,? Why are we so blind,? Where is the same mercy on victims,?? Why are we always having mercy on the wrong people,? But I am really really so proud of the people who kept on fighting for his immediate removal ? This man should never ever had stayed on his position as soon the rumors started to leak out about his sick behavior,? He should had resigned the minute the complaints came out about him,? period ,but thank god he resigned,,now children will be much much safer,,