Friday, October 24, 2014

Rabbi Barry Freundel - prominent Modern Orthodox leader - arrested on voyeurism charge

 Update Oct 23, 2014   Washington City Paper

The acts of voyeurism were likely not limited to the mikveh area, and police say in the documents that evidence shows Freundel has been engaging in the activity with "several devices and over a period of time." Police seized a similar recording device from Freundel's home and found a manual for another hidden camera disguised as a fan.

Update: Oct 22,2014 Wusa 9

RCA suspends R Freundel's membership

The Rabbinical Council of America's President Rabbi Leonard Matanky and Executive Vice President Rabbi Mark Dratch said in a statement released Monday:

"First and foremost, our hearts continue to go out to the individuals who were converted to Judaism by Rabbi Freundel whose trust was violated and who have worried about their personal status. We pray for the welfare of all victims, including the many women who used the Kesher Israel mikvah for taharat hamishpacha (family purity) purposes, and for the continued strength and healing of the Kesher Israel community, which is a vibrant center of our sacred Torah and that is suffering greatly at this time. We also feel for the Freundel family and offer them our support during this difficult personal time."

RCA also announced that Rabbi Freundel's membership was suspended from the RCA and its Executive Committee, "and together with the Beth Din of America from all activities related to conversion." RCA officials, however, say that "...the Beth Din of America has concluded as a matter of Jewish law that conversions performed by Rabbi Freundel prior to his arrest on October 14, 2014 remain halachically valid and prior converts remain Jewish in all respects."


update Oct 21, 2014  Towson University - Towerlight

The University has indefinitely suspended Associate Professor Barry Freundel with pay, following his arrest outside his home in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 14. [...]

Freundel teaches classes in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. ... Senior mass communication major Nicole Coniglio said she toured Freundel’s synagogue last fall for a religious studies class she was taking. While there, Coniglio said she and other students on the tour were asked to shower in the mikvah, the ritual bath Freundel is accused of videotaping. Coniglio declined, but two of her classmates, who were Jewish but not Orthodox, accepted. [...]

In the past, Freundel has invited students to his synagogue for his classes. Any students or alumni who may have been impacted are encouraged to contact Towson University Police at , who are assisting D.C. police in their investigation.
update Oct 21 2014 Washington Post    Georgetown rabbi accused of voyeurism is focus of other allegations

The case of a Georgetown rabbi accused of secretly videotaping women in the ritual bath expanded significantly Monday when a national rabbinical board said it had known since at least 2012 of complaints by women converts of inappropriate behavior.

The news triggered an outpouring by converts and advocates for women in Modern Orthodoxy who said the case reflected deeply embedded problems with sexism.

Rabbi Barry Freundel’s arrest last week shocked many in the small world of Modern Orthodoxy in part because he was viewed as an active supporter of women’s equality in areas such as synagogue leadership and education. In his 25 years as spiritual leader of Kesher Israel, he had elevated women to top positions at the small synagogue, whose members have long included prominent national leaders such as former senator Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

Freundel was also one of the country’s best-known advocates for converts, and was known for going head-to-head with the powerful and strict Israeli rabbinate to try to get more U.S. conversions recognized.

But on Monday, the Rabbinical Council of America — the country’s main group for Modern Orthodox rabbis — said it had received reports going back at least two years that women working with Freundel toward becoming Jewish felt coerced into performing clerical work for him and donating money to a tribunal he led. There was also an allegation that he inappropriately acted as a co-signer on a checking account with one woman. [....]

update:Washington Jewish Week

According to a report by investigators with the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) obtained by Washington Jewish Week, police were notified of the surreptitious recording device by an individual associated with the mikvah on Oct. 12, who also reported witnessing Freundel plugging in and operating the recording device secreted in a Dream Machine digital clock radio while she was setting up the mikvah’s showers. Freundel said that he was using it “for ventilation of the shower area.”

Police obtained a search warrant for the recording device on the very next day and reviewed numerous sets of recordings stored on the camera’s memory card.

The first three recordings on the camera’s memory card, timestamped June 2, capture three women separately “partially undressing” or changing clothes in view of the camera. The second occasion, timestamped Sept. 13, the camera recorded the face and voice of Freundel appearing to adjust the camera’s display time and “positioning it on the counter to face the shower stall area.” Six more recordings on the same day included four women “undressed or changing clothes” before entering the shower and drying off after.

A third set of videos dated Oct. 6, shows the rabbi again positioning the camera, followed by a video of when the camera was discovered. Because the camera was discovered on Oct. 12, at least on this day, the camera’s timestamp was behind by six days.

update: October 17 2014 Washington Post Rabbi accused of voyeurism pored over questions of sex and ethics

If Barry Freundel secretly violated sexual ethics, in public he pored over them.

Allegations that the Georgetown rabbi hid a camera in a ritual bathing area have astonished people from Washington to Israel, in part because Freundel had positioned himself as an ethical beacon. The internationally known Orthodox rabbi served as spiritual guide to the likes of former U.S. senator Joseph I. Lieberman and Supreme Court expert Linda Greenhouse and proffered wisdom on a wide range of moral matters.

Freundel’s writings, interviews and sermons, however, reveal that he appeared deeply worried about the dangerous overlap between sex and ethics, especially where it concerns technology.

Technology, he told a 1999 congressional bio­ethics panel, is “value-neutral. You can use it for good, you can use it for bad; the concern is how you use it. Every technology is a tool given to us by God to improve the world, if we use it the right way.” Same with knowledge, he said. Jews “style ourselves the ‘People of the Book’ because we think knowledge is valuable. But are you using it ethically?”

“The lack of sexual morality that pervades this society is all over the place, and the Orthodox community, no matter how traditional, is not immune from this,” he told Washington Jewish Week in a story last month about divorce among the Orthodox. “Pornography and its accessibility is wrecking marriages. It’s two keystrokes away. You get on the computer, you hit the button twice and you’re there.” [...] =========================
Washington Post   A prominent modern Orthodox rabbi at a Georgetown synagogue was arrested by D.C. police on Tuesday morning and charged with voyeurism, according to a department spokeswoman.

Barry Freundel, 62, of the Kesher Israel Congregation, was being held in police custody Tuesday and was likely to have an initial appearance in D.C. Superior Court on Wednesday. Within hours, the synagogue’s board of directors suspended him without pay.[...]

Law enforcement authorities said the case involves a hidden camera but gave conflicting accounts of where the alleged voyeurism took place. Both the synagogue bathroom and the mikvah, where ritual bathing takes place, were mentioned.

Freundel is one of the region’s most respected rabbis. Kesher Israel is a modern Orthodox synagogue, part of a denomination that emphasizes Jewish law and tradition while trying to accommodate modern trends such as the rise of women in leadership.[...]


  1. I know Barry many many years. This is a frame up by his enemies in the conservative and reform congregations in the area. He has fought them vociferously on the issues of geyrus for years now. This will be shown to be false. I am 100% positive. I know you take the "news" from the media- but this is complete sheker. I am amazed at his shul. they must have done this because of some legal reasons= not wanting to be sued, But Barry does not deserve this kind of treatment

  2. I know Barry almost from the first day he came to Washington. He is totally ehrlach person. I know you print things that you see in the media, but this one is just impossible to be true.

  3. Who knows how many women will stop going to mikva because of this?. Let's hope it's not true.

  4. Since you are close with Rabbi Freundel, call him or go to his house and speak with him and get his side and come back here and share it with us.

  5. that's what people said when rav motti elon was arrested

  6. Unfortunately, there are MANY instances when the Israeli courts have released or convicted someone for non-judicial reasons. Everyone who lives in Israel knows that. You may disagree, but MANY people feel that both Yig'al Amir and Moshe Katzav were convicted on ABSURD charges, and that Rav Motti Elon's conviction is also absurd. I attended Rav Elon's classes for years and was ALWAYS impressed by his modesty acceptance of other people. After his conviction, I attended classes and was on the lookout for inappropriate behavior of any kind. I didn't see any. I knew Barry Freundel when I was a teenager from Jewish camps. He was very respected. His wife was one of the best advisor of teens that I ever met. I hope this charge is NOT true! The media don't have the authority to convict anyone. Only the courts do!!

  7. first of all, we are currently in different countries. Second of all, he has an attorney, they have pleaded not guilty, and he certainly is not going to say anything to me that he would not say publicly with the permission of his attorney. Third of all, you are not the judge and not the jury. Only a voyeuristic bystander. When this is sorted out, you can say what you wish. At this point, it is wrong according to Jewish law and american law to condemn him. time will tell a lot

  8. not the way I read it. a. there was a camera. b. women were on the memory chip., c. he was on the memory chip. d.someone saw him place the camera. sounds bad. but this is not complete proof. I do not know what mitzvah you are doing reporting this at this time. it would have waited a week for more facts all the same

  9. If this is true, the biggest crime of the accused is that of the betrayal of his community's trust. A rabbi is someone to whom many people feel comfortable disclosing their darkest secrets. They certainly do not expect him to be peeping on them in the midst of what is supposed to be a sacred and special ritual. Other crimes may be excusable; the betrayal of a public's trust is not.

  10. Nothing will happen to this Rabbi, the fix is already in. He only peeped on shiksas the argument will go and they lured him into it. A Jewish Judge will handle the case andall charges will be dismissed. Joe Lieberman will probaby give him a medal.

  11. Ever hear of Tattuffe? These moralistic types are aways the biggest.perverts. The FBI arrested him, not.the.local cops. Chances are he's been a perv for years and.its been covered up.

  12. @Puzzled Parent - read the police report summarized in Washington Jewish Week that I added to the post

    Furthermore once it is being reported in all the public media - it is no longer a secret.

  13. when you attack Meisels, this is a to'eles, and will hopefully help to get guys like this away from our daughters. This is a good thing. Your input keeps the pressure up, and will hopefully accrue to the public good, as this is one man, meisels, in a dangerous position with hundreds of our meidelach. We must stop at nothing to make sure the right thing is done.
    Freundel is one man. IF he did wrong, it is between him and the Ribono Shel Olam. The women didn't even know about it[that doesn't make it right, but it does mitigate the effect of his voyeurism, being investigated by the police will get to the bottom of this,. I am a native washingtonian. I know of the many good things he did. Ultimately, this expose will, if proven, destroy him and end his career forever. A serious enough punishment all by itself. I fail to understand what all the attention you give to this accomplishes. it is ugly and you accomplish nothing, only degrade ourselves with this discussion

  14. You may know him, but unless you followed him into his hidden chambers, you have no way of claiming that he was "totally ehrlach." Only Hashem knows if someone is "totally ehrlach." I think that you are in denial.

  15. @Puzzled Parents - perhaps the most devasting part of abuse - is betrayal. Assuming the charges are true - he not only betrayed his congregants who looked up to him for spiritual guidance, he clearly betrayed the converts he took advantage of. His were not victimless crimes contrary to your assertions. Even if he is destoyed he will never by able to undo the damage to the victims and to the image of rabbis.

  16. "assuming the charges are true" - your comments are correct. but what if the charges are not true?
    what did you accomplish by putting this out there right now? I fail to see what toeles this has now

  17. @puzzled parent - the evidence is strong, the information is widely available. Pretending that I don't know about it is not helping Freundel in any way.Not reporting it at this point is clearly perceived as a coverup. so what is the toleles in not reporting it?

  18. toeles? how about minimizing lashon horah? there is nothing you or your readers can do here except rail and scream. you could have waited a week to do that

  19. I am certain that even after he pleads guilty you will still claim he's innocent.

  20. of course it should be punished. and the courts will do it. what does your discussing it add to anything?

  21. @puzzled what benefit is there waiting a week when everyone is fully aware of the incident. You feel that only my blog should pretend nothing has happened?

    As I pointed out a number of times there is to'eles in talking about it and thus it isn't an issue of lashon harah

    You think he will be significantly less embarrassed if I don't mention what is all over the media?

  22. @puzzled why should it be left entirely up to the secular courts to punish? The critical thing is that rabbis should be aware that they will be publicly embarrassed in our community if they do such disgusting things. In fact our discussion is an effective deterrrent. In the old days when all types of sexual abuse were covered up - because of lashon harah - there was very little deterrent.

    It is clear that you have an overwhelming bias in assuming him to be innocent

  23. So how is last weeks incident merely between him and G-d, as you said, because it only was one man and the women didn't know about it? Someone who looks at kiddie porn is also one man and the kids don't know about it.

  24. DT you are correct that after being reported in the public media, it is no longer a secret. However you also state that "The critical thing is that rabbis should be aware that they will be publicly embarrassed in our community if they do such disgusting things". By reprinting this article, you certainly have accomplished this. Only problem is that you do not know at this point if the accusations are true or not. So, 1. I seem to recall that embarrassing someone in public is a grave sin. 2. whatever happened to the concept of innocent until proven guilty. 3. What is your purpose in embarrassing him if you don't know if he is guilty or not?

  25. @Tahini - 1) the evidence was enough for him to be arrested and removed from his job as rabbi 2) The embarrassment to him occurred before I posted anything on the matter - I don't see that I have caused him to be more embarrassed then he was by being in the Washington Post, Forward, Haaretz, Jerusalem Post etc etc etc.3) According to your assertion it would be impossible to accuse anyone of doing anything wrong because that causes embarrassment - obvious that is ridiculous. 4) A person who has these types of assertions made - needs to be removed from his position to protect the public - even if it turns out that he is innocent. Public protection takes priority in these cases.

  26. This guy's an anti-Semite -- see his other comments on disqus. His comment should be deleted and he should be banned.

  27. Good points. You are right. There is no difference between the papers reporting them and a Rabbi reposting these articles.
    Point 3. , if you have a reason to accuse someone, ie. you were there and saw the cameras being placed, this person raped you, this person robbed you, etc. then yes, you should accuse this person to bait din the police or whoever. So the question still stands, what gives YOU the right to embarrass this person in front your readers when you don't know what really occurred. Yes, accusations were made, but does that give you the right to spread these accusations further?
    4. Agreed, however, does your blog in this case help public protection or in this case is it a senseless spreading of the accusations being presented? Again, what is your purpose in posting this at this time?

  28. @Tahini- you are recycling. I answered your questions but you don't agree with my answers or don't understand them.

  29. His comment is complete nonsense. He was reported by Jews, and has already had plenty "happen" to him - by Jews. Just nonsensical.

  30. Look at the first twenty years of his career - he was good Rabbi and this type of behavior had in the past been completely out of character for him.

    I find it curious and ironic that two big conversion gurus both fell in similar fashion. Rabbi Leib Tropper and Rabbi Barry Freundel.

    For many years, Rabbi Leib Tropper was a good rabbi and the type of behavior that brought him down had been completely out of character for him.

    Then these rabbis decided that they became "wiser" that G-d - they were going to "help" Judaism through making conversion easier. Of course, serious and sincere converts do not want relaxed standards for conversion. The new standards applied by these two rabbis facilitated people to be less concerned about dating a non-Jew.

    Then, they all of-a-sudden had these desires - and acted upon them. I see it as a direct link. Had they stayed away from "relaxing" conversions and facilitating relationships that are unacceptable, this would not have happened to them.

  31. These moralistic types are aways [sic] the biggest.perverts.[sic]

    Nah. Stupid talk.

  32. Yes, the difference between you and all other Jewish bloggers mentioning it versus you and all other Jewish bloggers not mentioning it (until he's had his day in court), is a significantly different level of embarrassment. I imagine that if you and other Jewish blogs were to say,

    "In light of the Rambam's dictum that a person with a reputation of being righteous appears to have done something wrong, we are obligated to assume extraordinary circumstances in order to judge him favorably, until there is proof otherwise."

    This is a teachable moment that you can grasp, if you hurry.

  33. Yes!

    The difference between you and all other Jewish bloggers mentioning it versus you and all other Jewish bloggers not mentioning it (until he's had his day in court), is a significantly different level of embarrassment. I imagine that if you and other Jewish blogs were to say, "In light of the Rambam's dictum that a person with a reputation of being righteous appears to have done something wrong, we are obligated to assume extraordinary circumstances in order to judge him favorably, until there is proof otherwise."

    This is a teachable moment that you can grasp, if you hurry.

  34. that is ridiculous. but as long as this court of public opinion continues to tar and feather him, I will try to remain balanced. As i said- I know him over 20 years. I actually donated money to the building of that mitkveh. we had some long talks, he was a very good person. I have no idea of what happened- BUT I know that he WAS a good person. you don't know anything at all about him

  35. this is your standard reply. it is incorrect. time will tell who is right and who is wrong

  36. Indeed. And - importantly - his family.

    If you and other Jewish bloggers were to say, "In light of the Rambam's dictum that a person with a reputation of being righteous appears to have done something wrong, we are obligated to assume extraordinary circumstances in order to judge him favorably, until there is proof otherwise" - that would be the proper Jewish path. If guilty as charged, he will suffer greatly. There is no gain by you condemning him publicly, especially if you consider the embarrassment to his family that you are increasing by this amended post and these many understandably-outraged comments. Please go review the Rambam, go chazar the Gamara on being dan l'chaf zechus and then re-amend your post.

    This is a teachable moment that you can seize, if you hurry.

  37. @Alexander - please show me where I condemned Rabbi Freundel publicly. I have reported the fact that he has been arrested and some of the evidence against him. I have not said that he is guilty.

    The Rambam's dictum is not an absolute rule and as I have repeatedly pointed out - where there is benefit to the public to protect themselves it clearly doesn't apply. Look at Mo'ed Koton 17a and other places where rumor enough- without a person being convicted of a crime.

    The halacha in the real world is more nuanced and complicated than your cherry picking of citations

  38. @puzzled parent - I have no problem with you defending him - the issue is that the evidence seems very strong against him.

    There is a long list of abusers who had sterling reputations - such as Motti Elon. Knowing that he was a good person - does not prove that he is innocent.

  39. @Alexander - you are ignoring the obvious fact that there is proof against him. As I pointed out before - you are showing a very limited understanding of halacha concerning the issue of someone who has been charged, rumors abound, or is strongly suspected.As the Chofetz Chaim has pointed out -"the halacha does not require a person to be stupid".

    Again I have not condemned him publicly but have simply reported that he has been arrested and the evidence against him. I have not said he is guilty.

    I would suggest you invest some time to become more aware of the halachic issues before you pat yourself on the back for being so righteous and superior to the rest of us.

  40. this is true. adam yireh b'eynayim, Hashem yireh balev. Even though he and I are of different persuasions, as he is fairly modern and I am yeshivish, I have always recognized in him a strong desire to do the right thing. His seemingly aberrant behavior is very puzzling. maybe he had a nervous breakdown, a mid life crisis? I don't know, and neither do you, nor could any of your readers know at this point. Evidence and near evidence certainly looks very damaging. I had a friend who I knew my entire life since we were 4. He was accused and convicted of a crime and served 12 years in the federal penitentary- and he was framed. a long story. but the point is, this has not even been proven yet. It is wrong to be accusatory and condemning at this point in time.

  41. @puzzled parent - again I am not accusing him or condemning him - I am reporting that he has been arrested and what the evidence is. I am acknowlding - as you do - that the evidence against him is "very damaging". I don't deny that he might in fact be innocent - but I still feel it is important that this information be published.

  42. I don't know tropper. I do know Freundel. He did not relax anything. His standards for Geyrus were high. I was with him when he went and discussed it with Rav Amar. Rav Amar was satisfied and accepted his geyrusin. Your statements about him are conjecture, and evil.

  43. this is a wonderful post. I agree 100%. This was a chance for D.E. to adhere to a higher standard. and it still is.

  44. @puzzled parent - what higher standard? You disagree with halacha?

  45. this is where we differ. just as you chose to go with the Israeli Beis Din side on Meisels as opposed to the Chicago side[which may shortly be shown to be an error], you might have taken the high road here. It is only a matter of time in any event. We will all know the facts in a while.

  46. @puzzled parent - you still haven't shown why your view is the "high road" and mine is the low road. Simply repeating the assertion doesn't make it so.

  47. there is din. and there is lifnim meshuras hadin.

  48. "I am certain that even after he is proven innocent you will still claim he's innocent." that makes as much sense as your statement

  49. that is true. no more than your reporting that all you did was report was in the paper and police report. Somehow I just don't see that any person who was trying his hardest to do "hayashar vehatov" as the pasuk says, would have reported this at this juncture. Anything you are trying to accomplish could just as easily, if not more easily, been accomplished after all the evidence is in and this is at least in trial.
    Consider this: what if there is one chance in a 1000 that he is will you ever make it up to him?

  50. PP you need to rephrase. We will never know the facts, we will only know what the decision of the courts are whether they are correct or not and mostly what we hear will be what becomes the accepted version of things. As you experienced in your own life with your friend that was framed, the truth is not always the outcome. A lot has to do with who has a better lawyer, what the bias of the media is, ect.

  51. yafeh meod! you said it all!!!

  52. those things are profoundly true. In washington d.c, however, those things won't help him if he is wrong ( I am a native washingtonian, born and bred). the jury will be mostly if not all black, and won't be persuaded by any white lawyer and white rabbi. so if he is wrong, he will be guilty. the only thing is, this is a misdemeanor charge- 1 year maximum. won't even go to a jury. judge will decide. much higher level of sophistication and understanding.

  53. @Alexander you declare you are not declaring yourself superior and say it was just nasty for me to point out that your statements criticizing me as evidence that you consisder yourself superior and frummer than me.

    I would suggest you reread what you have posted. you clearly stated that I am not following the proper Torah path in my posting and you repeated stated what you claimed was the right thing to do as if you know better then me or perhaps you acknowledge I know but you simply think I am a hypocrite. There is no other way to read your criticism.
    You criticized me for not following the halacha i.e., the Rambam and that my post constituted lashon harah and that I should follow your guidelines.and dan lchaf zechus.

    But now you are acknowledging you are in fact an am haraetz who doesn't know what the halacha is but only is asking.

    Your attack on me is rather ironic. Because the same reasoning that you used to criticize me for publicizing the negative information about Rabbi Freundel also would preclude you attacking me. Why didn't you dan lchaf zechus? Is only a suspected pervert Rabbi is worthy of dan lchaf zechus?

    The appropriate thing for an am haaretz is to ask queestion not to attack and make pronouncement about teachable moments etc etc. Unless of course the am haaretz is sure he knows the right answer in this situation

  54. You are right. I should have phrased it as a question. Thank you for the correction.

  55. I think that what is bothering puzzledparent and myself is that what is being called "evidence against him" is in fact alleged evidence against him. Neither you nor I have seen this alleged evidence. Again, it seems very likely to be true, but are we allowed to believe it at this point when (a) the man has pleaded not-guilty, (b) the US system itself declares him innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, (c) we know there is a very remote but technically possible chance that he is innocent?

  56. His conversions are still "kosher" - RCA

  57. First post on the new DISQUS system by Recipients and Publicity. Due to abbreviation requirements, now posting as RaP_Commentary.

    Honesty said: "I find it curious and ironic that two big conversion gurus both fell in similar fashion. Rabbi Leib Tropper and Rabbi Barry Freundel."

    RaP: Indeed the parallels are very striking, almost identical, but while Tropper was on the extreme right-wing spectrum of Haredi Judaism, on the other hand Freundel is on the extreme left-wing spectrum of Modern Orthodox Judaism. They are both in their 60s. Yet somehow, they still managed to "meet"! Maybe it has to do with the fact that are both products of a very American culture and grew up during the times when the "sexuaa revolution" and "sexual freedom" and "free love" took root in Western societies, so in that way they are identical. Two very bright, ambitious, charismatic American home grown boys who became rabbis and worked with the modern world coming at it with the same goals but from different sides of the Orthodox ideological spectrum

    "For many years, Rabbi Leib Tropper was a good rabbi"

    RaP: Depends how one defines "good" in this case! If one means to say "famous" or "well known" then sure, but he was never totally "good" because from day one when he broke onto the scene he often managed to find himself at the center of many controversies and became controversial, eventually with disastrous consequences for him and the EJF organization.

    "and the type of behavior that brought him down had been completely out of character for him."

    RaP: Not sure where you get this from but for those who were tracking him for many years there were always worrisome reports. There was his messy divorce and acrimonious from his first wife who came from a well-known rabbinic family, and then his marriage to his second wife who was one of his students and came from the world of baalei teshuva.

  58. @Alexander - there is a difference between giving someone the legal status of a sinner and using commonsense and regarding a person as a possible or even likely sinner. The legal status i.e., saying he sinned requires a beis din. Meaning without an official psak of a beis din you can not call a person a sinner.

    What if a person is convicted by a secular court of murder and rape but never had a trial from beis din. Would you 1) insist that he must be innocent because beis din never convicted him through use of 2 kosher witnesses? 2) would you welcome him into your home? 3) would you allow your family to be alone with him?

    Your concerns simply are not connected to the real world.

    A person is allowed to take reasonable steps to protect himself and others. That is clearly stated by Rav Elchonon Wasserman - one of the Chofetz Chaim's major talmidim. In fact the verse prohibitin lashon harah includes the statement that one should not idly stand by when someone might be harmed. It is generally understood to be a condition to determine whether someone is lashon harah or not - i.e., to'eles.

    And that self protection is permitted by the halacha even if it means embarrassment to the accussed and to his family.

    The issue is simply is there benefit in publiciing this information.If there is than your objections are irrelevant..

    1) If you are following the case you are aware that the publicity has drawn out new serious complaints against him. 2) Without the publicity people would not know at least to be careful around him. 3) the charges are making people aware of the possible danger from other people and situations and are taking protectie measures that they would not dream of without this publicity.

    You are confusing real life halacha with extreme statement in mussar seforim - including that found in the Chofetz Chaim. For examply the Chofetz Chaim (6:10) says that even information related to protect against possible harm - can not be believed until it is investigated. He calims it can not even raise the slightest doubt in your heart - even though you can investigate it and take protective measures.

    Rav Sternbuch notes that requirement is impossible. if the recipient of this information is concerned enough to investigate further and take protective measures he must have some belief that the infomation might be true.He cites the Chazon Ish that the Chofetz Chaim wasn't meant to be taken literally. However there is no indication in the Chofetz Chaim that he didn't mean to be taken literally. Similarly CC states that if a person is motivated to tell lashon harah for personal reasons e.g,the accussed stole his life savings or raped his wife - one is not allowed to tell others this information.

    In addition there is the gemora which states that nformation said before 3 is not considered lashon harah - if it is related to others. Again the Chofetz Chaim makes takes an extreme position that simply is not supported by the sources. He states that all the rishonim reject the common understanding of the gemora that it is a heter to repeat publicly known information. The Avodas HaMelech demonstrates that the Chofetz Chaim's assertion is wrong. The Maharal clearly rejects the Chofetz Chaim's view as does Tosfos and the Chazon Ish etc etc.

    There is much more to write on this subject and I am presently working on a sefer which deals with this conflict between the formal halacha and pragmatic halacha. You might would to read Dr. Aharon Kirschenbaums 1000 + page volume on the subject.

  59. puzzled parent said: "I don't know tropper."

    RaP: If you would "know" about him you would be aware that at his peak he was as big a gun as Freundel if not bigger. Tropper had backers who put tens of millions of dollars at his disposal to run no holds barred luxury retreats and seminars for interfaith couples. To buy of rabbis and batei din, massive advertizing and media campaigns, and special ultra luxurious conferences for the top roshei yeshiva and Haredi leaders, all with the backing of all top Haredi rabbis in Israel and America. Only Rav Moshe Shternbuch and the members of the BADATZ bais din, and the owner of this blog stood up against Tropper. That is when I started blogging here as "Recipients and Publicity" based on a request to identify the "Recipients" of protest letters against EJF and Tropper sent out by the BADATZ, and that it needed "Publicity" so that people should be warned and know about it. In the end Tropper did everyone a favor by self-destructing when he was caught on a HIDDEN CAMERA cavorting in bed with his wife and a woman who was a prospective candidate for conversion that he had blackmailed into sex in exchange for complying with his perverse sexual desires that also included phone sex and sex with men he sent over. Tropper and Freundel have such similar voracious sexual appetites that it's scary.

    "I do know Freundel."

    RaP: Yeah? Obviously you didn't know him well enough, or not as well as the women who have now filed charges against him for videotaping them in the mikvah. Tropper was also known to hang around women when he sent them to the mikvah, such as when he insisted they needed "better" conversions. "Practice dunking" by another name.

    "He did not relax anything. His
    standards for Geyrus were high. I was with him when he went and
    discussed it with Rav Amar. Rav Amar was satisfied and accepted his
    geyrusin. Your statements about him are conjecture, and evil."

    RaP: Exactly the same things if not more so for Tropper. Tropper had the blessings of Rav Ovadia Yosef all the time. He had the blessings of Rav Elyashiv. Tropper had the backing of Rav Aron Schechter and of the American Agudah. Much greater backing than Freundel could ever dream of. If anything the very Modern Orthodox Freundel was perhaps one of the biggest critics of ultra Haredi Tropper. While both can be called radical converters of gentiles both came undone when they were caught with their pants down abusing their privileged positions as "supremo" conversion rabbis. Tropper was forced to resign and write official letters of resignation that he would leave Monsey. He lost his yeshiva Kol Yaakov, while poor Freundel is not just fired from his positions but is also shackled and charged in court. In the old days, Guma Aguiar had stated that he was going to prosecute Tropper the same way Freundel is being prosecuted for essentially breach of trust but Guma had his own problems it seems and supposedly mysteriously disappeared at sea before he could sue Tropper for misuse of the millions of Dollars he had donated to EJF that Tropper abused. As the old saying goes "(cyber) crime does not pay"!

  60. a beautiful post. very cogently stated. I agree.

  61. Would you and Alexander make all those same points about someone accused of having kiddie porn on his computer? (Remember, he never actually even saw the actual children.)

  62. I hope this does not come as an insult to all rabbonim, but having seen many rabbis in the kiruv industry, quite a few i have come across simply abuse the people they are supposedly teaching torah to. this abuse does not have to be davka sexual, although that also happens. It can be psychological, emotional, financial or intellectual.

    If you see Messilate yesharim, and what it says about how Rabbis have Gaavah, (an observation made 400 years ago) , then today, it should not come as a surprise. Imagine having the belief that whatever you say or think was already given on Sinai. that is essentially what many regular rabbonim believe about themselves. others simply go into the family business and try to reap some extra-curricular rewards from this business.
    This is my explanation for the kind of phenomena we see day in, day out. And I haven't even started with Israeli religious political parties.

  63. I do know Freundel. He did not relax anything. His standards for Geyrus were high.....Your statements about him are conjecture, and evil.

    Please see the update from the Washington Post. I'll quote it:

    Freundel ..... was known for going head-to-head with the powerful and strict Israeli rabbinate to try to get more U.S. conversions recognized.


    Is this true?

  65. (This looks to be a cogent response to this comment


  66. even though everything being said is not "eidus" but hearsay, it is getting overwhelming and if proven will shake the entire geyrus process. I feel worse for those who were megayer and now feel vulnerable and fear for their geyrus being questioned.

  67. yes, he went to them, and convinced them al pi halacha that his standards were good- and they subsequently recognized his geyrus.. at least at that point in time

  68. Did he convince them or twist their arm? Or were their arms twisted tight enough that they came to recognize his standards?

  69. Shalom RAP, and Shana Tova,

    I quite agree with you and this is really a bizarre situation. Quite apart from the chillul Hashem, and the damage he has caused to the RCA and BDA, it is hard to comprehend the actions of someone who with both secular and religious qualifications, acts in such an unrestrained and pathetic way. One would think that at least a Rav, might take the advice of the Gemara, and dress in black , ie go somewhere he is not known and unlikely to be found out, to practice perversions. To commit a serious crime (both halachic and in secular law) in a semi-public Mikveh, and not expect to be caught shows a certain kind of madness or meshugas. It reminds me of the Rambam, who says that when a person sins, he does so out of temporary insanity. But this was a regular, pre-meditated and programmed endeavour. It is difficult to explain, but also were the other famous cases that have been discussed here previously.

  70. many websites, including institutions, are removing any pages related to Freundel. Here is a bio of him on a website:

    Rabbi Dr. Barry Freundel
    is the spiritual leader of Kesher Israel: The Georgetown Synagogue. He
    received his smicha from Yeshiva University and his Phd from Baltimore
    Hebrew University where he serves as an Assistant Professor of
    Rabbinics. He has also served as an Adjunct Instructor at the University
    of Maryland, an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University, and a
    Consultant to the Ethics Review Board of the National Institute of
    Aging of the National Institutes of Health. Rabbi Freundel is also head
    of the conversion committee of the Rabbinical Council of America.

    Rabbi Freundel is Vice-President of the Vaad of Washington
    and is very involved in community issues in the Greater Washington
    area. He is regarded as a resource and authority on eruvim, and has
    assisted in their construction in a number of cities, including
    Washington. He is the author of Contemporary Orthodox Judaism's Response to Modernity published by KTAV in 2003 as well as numerous scholorly articles."

    Particularly painful to read is his involvement in discussion of Ethics and Jewish values (not to understate his obvious halachic responsibilities in giur).

  71. "Suspended with pay." That seems proper. The synagogue should have done as much so long as he has not been proved guilty.

  72. this is very telling. it means either: a) they know some serious evidence= real evidence, not hearsay. b) they didn't like him anyway or c) they did not ask what was the proper thing to do. cutting off his money hurts his wife and children.

  73. @puzzzled the RCA not only suspended him but in their announcement clearly has decided that he is guilty as charged

  74. yes.As rabbanim who function as a din torah, this is do you convict someone in absentia?

  75. Well..... we keep reading that Rabbi Freundel was "respected". But in Vienna, Austria, the situation was similar until recently. The Chabad rabbi Josef Biderman was respected back in the days when he was given a large chunk of prime property in the historic Augarten for a Chabad complex, and later, when he was presented with a magnificent building that Ronald Lauder renovated and added to for the business school which bears his name.

    Today, it is unlikely that the Lord Mayor and the Vienna Municipality still have as much respect for this rabbi as their predecessors did. A man of his standing - legally responsible for all the Chabad facilities in Vienna - is not supposed to do things like giving evidence on hearsay in court, as he did with the little Schlesinger twins. Nor is he supposed to suppress important medical/psychiatric information as he did re one of the boys' self-harming in the Chabad kindergarten.

    This kind of illegal activity on the part of a formerly important rabbi in Vienna produces disrespect for the person himself and for all he represents. For different reasons, it looks like Rabbis Freundel and Biderman might be heading in the same direction.

  76. "3) the charges are making people aware of the possible danger from other
    people and situations and are taking protectie measures that they would
    not dream of without this publicity"

    This point strikes me as a chidush that needs a source. Yes, there is a heter to disseminate lashon hara about a person so that people can take precautions against that person. You are extending the heter to allow disseminating lashon hara against one person so that people will take precautions against unknown others. I believe you need sources or proofs for that.

  77. Andrew Nachum KlafterOctober 23, 2014 at 2:50 AM

    I think that suspension without pay by the synagogue and expulsion from the RCA is just fine. Continuing one's job at a synagogue or membership to the RCA are not governed by the same rules a when Rueuven claims that Shimon owes him money. His job is governed by the terms of his contract. RCA membership is governed by one's membership agreement. If Rabbi Freundel alleges that he has been terminated unjustly from his synagogue or expelled unjustly from the RCA then he can take them to a Din Torah. As far as the shul, the allegations state that the leadership of the school directly observed him installing the camera. If he wants to force Rabbi Freundel to pay damages of some kind, or wants to have him adjudicated as possul, then he would need to bring him to a Din Torah. But if the synagogue wishes to no longer retain a rabbi against whom there is a vaday claim of wrong doing based on evidence they believe to be totally true then they are entitled to stop employing him and they need not take him to a Din Torah.

    This idea that the University's action demonstrates that they don't believe the evidence is also wrong. The University probably has a contract which prevents them from suspending someone without pay for a criminal matter before it is adjudicated in court. The synagogue certainly does not.

    Let's make this simpler: Let's say that I have a cleaning lady in my house and my wife sees her steal my daughter's jewelry. Do you think that I am forced to continue employing her because my wife's testimony is possul due to her being a woman? Of course not! That's nonsense. My wife or I can fire her on the spot provided it does not violate a contract which I have obligated myself to. However, if I want to sue her in a Din Torah for damages to recover stolen items or money, then the Beis Din will require proper and admissible evidence (i.e., direct testimony of two acceptable eidim).

  78. I agree with what you have said - the problem is clearly conceputalzing when beis din is required. According to the Chofetz Chaim all these things you describe seem problematic. See in particular 6:10 where he explains Nida 61a as not even allowing one to entertain doubts based on lashon harah and surely not having the ability to convey concerns to others.

    There seems to be confusion between the pronouncements of rabbis concerning lashon harah the requirements of beis din - and what in fact is not only permitted by halacha for the individual to do and in many cases is required to protect society.

    I think your distinctions are helpful - but need to be developed.

  79. basically you are saying that there was direct eydus. while the charging docs do say that he installed the camera, they don't say how they know that. where did you see this info about the direct eydus?

  80. I am simply reporting how Rav Sternbuch and the Chazon Ish understood the Chofetz Chaim to be saying

    רב שטארנבוך (תשובות והנהגות א:תקנה): שאלה: באיסור קבלת לשון הרע וגדרה
    הקדוש בעל "חפץ חיים" זצ"ל בהלכות לשון הרע (כלל ו' סעיף י') פוסק שאסור לקבל לשה"ר ששמע רע על חבירו רק יש להעמידו על חזקתו שאין בו עולה, ומ"מ למיחש מיהת בעי לברר וליזהר, אבל אין לו עוד אפילו ספק בלבבו כל זמן שיש חזקה.
    ודבריו תמוהין מאד, אטו בני אדם מלאכי השרת הם, וכששומע מאדם מהימן שאינו שונאו וחושש בלבו, היאך נימא שזהו איסור קבלת לשון הרע, ונהי דאי אפשר לו לנגוע בחבירו כמלא נימא על סמך שמועה, מ"מ בלבו מסתפק שמא השמועה נכונה, וקשה אפילו לצייר שחושש רק כדי לברר אבל באמת אין אצלו אפילו חשש, והלוא מדין חזקה גופא נשאר ספק רק הלכה לנהוג כמקודם, ומעולם לא נפסק בחזקה שגם בלב אסור להסתפק כלל, ועכ"פ יש כאן ספק במציאות והחזקת כשרות לא מכרעת על זה.
    וכן ראיתי בספר "פאת שדך" (מהגר"ש מונק זצ"ל) סי' כ"ט מביא ששאל מהחזו"א זצ"ל והשיב "מי יכול לעמוד בזה אין זה אלא לומדות" וכוונתו כנ"ל שהרי אי אפשר לעמוד בזה ולא ניתנה תורה למלאכי השרת. ולכן נראה בכוונת הח"ח דכששומע לשה"ר הלוא טבע האדם הוא להאמין למספר ובפרט אם הוא אדם נאמן, ונעשה לו עכ"פ ספק גמור, ולזה דעת הקדוש החפץ חיים שצריך לידע שדין התורה הוא להעמיד כל אחד בחזקתו והרי הוא בחזקת כשרות, ורק הלכה היא שמותר לחשוש וכחששא לענין זהירות מדבר שעלול ליגרם לו נזק אם השמועה היתה נכונה, ומלבד זהירות זה האיסור בתורת ודאי לספר לאחרים או לצערו וכדומה, וחששא זו שהותר בזה היא שלעצמו חושש שלא כדין חזקת כשרות, אלא כאילו כן האמת, אבל בלבו צריך לידע ברור שחזקתו בכשרות, ולכן סיפור הלשה"ר הוא שקר, ולא ניתנה התורה למלאכי השרת. ובכל אופן מצווים אנו "בצדק תשפוט עמיתך" ללמד זכות כפי האפשר ואין גבול עד כמה אפשר ללמד זכות, וגם לצדד שההוא לא ראה בדקדוק או את כל הפרטים ולא סיפר או יודע כל הנסיבות וכו'.
    ועיקר איסור קבלת לשון הרע הוא לאחר השמיעה שלא ישתנה אצלו היחס לחבירו כלל, וליהוי כאילו לא שמע, שלגבי חבירו אינו חושש כלל, אף אם לעצמו אינו כמלאכי השרת שברור לו, וכמ"ש.

  81. The standard RCA. Rabbi contract has an arbitration clause to the rca bet din. (It's also the first thing a lawyer cross ses out. The shul lawyer and or the rabbi s lawyer, if he has one for contract negotiations.

    The problem here is that the rca bet din should be disqualified, cause of previous dealings in this case. However, the rca NEVER disqualifiels itself, unless the rca wants to disqualify itself.

    Also, moral turpitude or not, haoacha practically forbid s firing a rabbi against his will.

    The only practical solution: pay out / buy out the rabbi s contract.

    Meaning $$$

  82. Puzzled Parent and I are still awaiting your answers to my previous comment, 3 days ago.

  83. Your questions were answered what didn't you understamd?

  84. Andrew Nachum KlafterOctober 23, 2014 at 5:46 PM

    MeMedinat_HaYam: You are incorrect. Maybe you can find an unusual de'ah out there that supports what you are saying but the normative halakha is definitely that a signed contract supersedes any other assumptions or rules for termination. If the written contract states that one can be terminated for cause under a set of conditions and the Rabbi accepts this, then it is absolutely permitted for the leadership of the synagogue to terminate the rabbi under those conditions. Finally the point is that in this case the Synagogue is the muchzak. They are holding the money. The rabbi will need to take them to a Beis Din and explain his argument as to why they are obligated to keep paying. The idea that they can't fire him for installing a camera is a nonsense. They absolutely do not need to buy out his contract.

    Puzzled parent: Numerous newspaper articles explain that a Board Member of the directly saw him install the camera in a clock. That Board Member called the police, who discovered an IP camera, and traced the IP to Rabbi Freundel's home. They then found current images on his computer of six different women showering in the mikvah, and evidence of many other images which had been deleted in the past. But I am not simply saying that there was direct knowledge. I'm also saying that the Shul is not required to go to Beis Din to fire him. He is required to go to a Beis Din to argue that he has the right to keep his job. (And he will not prevail.)

    Rabbi Eidensohn: I think that the distinction between "doubt" and "concern" is idiosyncratic to translations I here your point but it's really not relevant to this case. People are allowed to fire their employees when they have good basis to believe that they are being harmed, stolen from, etc. In halakha you don't have the right to a job. How the Chafetz Chayim would want the board members or community members to think about/feel about Rabbi Freundel after they have heard all of this shmutz about him is an interesting and important spiritual question, but it has nothing to do with the fact that the board of the synagogue will absolutely fire him once they are confident that he committed these serious misdeeds. It is not just loshon hora they are hearing. A member of their leadership directly witnessed it. He is, himself, a principal party to this employment arrangement. It his not like somoene is calling them on the phone and saying, without substantiation, that they have heard that he's up to no good. This is real, direct knowledge of what he has done. I think it's confusing and inaccurate to frame this has a shayla in hilchos loshon hora.

  85. He can hire a black lawyer or include one on his legal team.

  86. The rca will never allow the case to co me before any bet din. They consider their internal(rabbi) committee a bet din. Even if the committee will not share its information with him.

  87. Dr. Klafter wrote:

    Rabbi Eidensohn: I think that the distinction between "doubt" and "concern" is idiosyncratic to translations I here your point but it's really not relevant to this case. People are allowed to fire their employees when they have good basis to believe that they are being harmed, stolen from, etc. In halakha you don't have the right to a job. How the Chafetz Chayim would want the board members or community members to think about/feel about Rabbi Freundel after they have heard all of this shmutz about him is an interesting and important spiritual question, but it has nothing to do with the fact that the board of the synagogue will absolutely fire him once they are confident that he committed these serious misdeeds. It is not just loshon hora they are hearing. A member of their leadership directly witnessed it. He is, himself, a principal party to this employment arrangement. It his not like somoene is calling them on the phone and saying, without substantiation, that they have heard that he's up to no good. This is real, direct knowledge of what he has done. I think it's confusing and inaccurate to frame this has a shayla in hilchos loshon hora.

    I was simply responding to your accusation that I misread the Chofetz Chaim. While basically I agree with your approach - it clearly is not that which is being taught. The use of the Chofetz Chaim's chumros is being used in Rav Bulman's word's "They are trying to keep our mouths shut." Thus it is very relevant to our discussion.

    A world in which you can't open your mouth on any meaningful issue if you didn't first get a psak - not just from a rav- but from a godol - is a world which people have been taught to relinquish basic responsiblities to others- on all important issues.

  88. Andrew Nachum KlafterOctober 23, 2014 at 9:26 PM

    OK. Agree . To read the chafetz chayim like that would mean that I can't ever use my common sense to make decisions in my day to day life without a Din Torah.

  89. exactly right and it is a significant problem. You might want to read Dr. Benny Brown's article on the sefer Chofetz Chaim.he points other important issues.

  90. Cognitive dissonance.

  91. The_Original_Bored_LawyerOctober 24, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    Isn't the simple answer that where the statement is le toeles there is no lashon hara? If my wife (or neighbor) tells me the cleaning lady (or a worker) is stealing from me, that is clearly le toeles. Firing him or her is simply protecting myself.

    As opposed to, say, idol gossip that Ploni down the street commits aveiros, and in context, his sins have no effect on me. (Use your imagination, but one can imagination many situations where Ploni down the street is doing something wrong, but that does not affect me.)

  92. yes, the signed contract stands. if it has an arbirtation clause, that governs., if it doesnt, he can always bring it to a bet din of his choosing, who will tend (i say tend, not definitive) to confirm his monetary (and / or position) "rights".

    if he chooses the RCA / BDA or the washington / baltimore (i believe washington tends to assign its din torah cases to baltimore bet din) vvad, the synagogue has little choice but to accept that particular bet din. they might tend to favor a (former) member who is extremely palsy walsy with the rabbi members, at least as far salary rights are concerned. (probably not the position itself).

    only practical solution -- buy out the remaining years of the rabbi's contract. since he probably can never get another shteller ( = position) now, and since bulk of the money will probably go to his wife in a settlement of their potential matter) this might be the most practical solution. (after paying his lawyers off.)

    over the past decade, rabbis who left synagogues that have money usually continue paying the rabbi the remaining years of his contract. several such cases. only difference here is the nature of his leaving. (i presume this synagogue has money. dont really know if they do.)

    dont forget -- the feds are not interested in cases of this type. they want the defendant to rat out on others, which he may may not have info on. another reason to pay him off to keep quiet. wait to see if the case is continuously postponed, or if its finished up before the end of the calendar year. i hope this para is adequately buried in thius post.

  93. yes that is the view of Rav Elchonon Wasserman and others

  94. see the artilce in Hakira,d.ZGU

  95. It is worth noting that Rabbinic sexual abuse is not a new problem. Haim Pardes was a dayan in Tel Aviv in the 1980s and admitted in court to sexually abusing women who relied on him for conversions and gittin: (google for more info)

    "Coincidentally", Haim Pardes has a son called Rabbi Josef Pardes who now operates as the head of Mizrachi in Vienna!

    How many more people need to be abused and how many more Rabbinic scandals need to come out before we accept there is a major problem and that major changes should be put in place. For example, the ability to remove semicha, or have a worldwide Rabbinic offenders list similar to the sex offenders register.

  96. Andrew Nachum KlafterOctober 26, 2014 at 7:44 AM

    Sorry, but if you are caught planting an IP camera in the women's shower you will NOT be receiving severance. Come on. Let's get serious.

  97. Isn't there a Rabbi Pardes in Vienna? Isn't he the son of the pedophile Rabbi Chaim Pardes?

    Whilst one wouldn't want to condemn the son because of his father, couldn't Rabbi Pardes in Vienna be doing something positive to help the Schlesinger twins in Vienna to have more contact with there mother?

    Pardes Vienna probably went there to escape the bad publicity and reputation!
    Doesn't he realise he jumped out of the fat into the fire? Questions are being asked why, he, as a very good friend and mentor of Schlesinger, hasn't tried to direct him to do the right thing by his children, making sure that they see their mother more, especially as there is no good reason for this not to happen! The mind boggles.
    The son of a paedophile being soo close to a man and his two sons, who can't speak!

    Rabbis are being condemned around the world for wrong doings and cover ups! The truths are all coming out now and the name Pardes is infamous! Now is the time for Pardes Vienna to take some positive action, or perhaps he should change his name!

  98. Very little remains online about the Pardess case - looks like what used to be there, giving more detail, has now gone. Could this have something to do with the case of the Schlesinger twins in Vienna (Austria)? There's another Rabbi Pardess there who I think might be the son of Rabbi P who was convicted in Tel Aviv. All I could find, apart from the conviction, was:

    October 24, 1990
    The Jerusalem Post

    TEL AVIV - Attorney-General Yosef Harish has submitted a charge sheet against Rabbi Haim Pardess, who was president of the Tel Aviv District Rabbinical Court, for two obscene acts and three cases of fraud.

    The charge sheet, submitted to the Tel Aviv District Court, claims, among other things, that Pardess spoke on personal and intimate matters to a woman who had come to him for advice after her husband had disappeared and she was declared an aguna, an abandoned wife. At one of their meetings, the rabbi committed indecent acts on the woman, the charge sheet says.

  99. several cases that I know about they got severance. (ok, those were outright molestation, not voyeurism, maybe not all underage, but teacher or teacher type relationship.)

    esp with "pshara" requirement (is it really halachically required? batei din claim its required, but is it really true? prob not.) even DT's reference following of hakira article cites this.

  100. Andrew Nachum KlafterOctober 28, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    Let me ask you this. If a Rabbi MURDERED the president of the synagogue, and it were witnessed by members of the congregation and he were arrested by the police and charged with murder... would you still think he's entitled to his severance pay? Do you think they need to ask a shayla about this before the stop transferring funds or sending checks for his salary? Does the synagogue board need to go to a Beis Din before they stop paying him?

    Again, when there is serious wrong-doing which constitutes a contract violation, and when the contract specifies procedures for termination, the synagogue does NOT have to pay severance. It would be eminently sensible for the synagogue to terminate him with no pay and to deny him any severance. They are entitled to do that unilaterally without seeking a psak or a Din Torah. If he believes he has been terminated unlawfully, then the burden of proof is upon him to prove this, and he should bring them to a Din Torah to argue his case. I am sure they would prevail, but whatever.

    Again, if I am employing a housekeeper and I catch her, red-handed, stealing my wife's jewelry, I will fire her on the spot. I do not owe her severance.

    If, however, I want to force her to pay damages for what she has stolen or to return stolen items that I allege are in her possession, I have no recourse other than a Din Torah. (Actually if I see the stolen items in her purse, I will just take them back myself because "tefisa" is a legal mechanism to recover stolen property in this case and will probably stand up in the Beis Din depending on whether there were witnesses to the tefisa.)

    Rabbi BF cannot force the shul board to keep paying him. The money that you think they owe him is in THEIR possession and not his.

    I don't understand how so many people have developed the perception that we can't do anything without asking a psak or bringing someone to a Din Torah. This is, seriously, a very unhealthy and distorted view of Judaism and of life. If you come up to me and demand that I owe you 100.00, for whatever reason you claim, and I think you are wrong, then I am not going to pay you. Nor am I going to ask a shayla. Nor am I going to a Beis Din. You, however, can summon me to a Beis Din and present your arguments, and I will respond to your arguments. The Beis Din will instruct me as to whether I am obligated to pay.

  101. @Dr. Klafter you raise an important point. Unfortunately the assumption that one can not do anything of signifcance without first consulting with a rabbi - is one that is encouraged explicitly and implicitly.
    Child abuse is just one such instance.

    I am currently working on a sefer which integrates the issues of lashon harah, rodef, paskening for your self - BK 28 and the nature of beis din to try and describe the parameters of independent judgment

  102. @Honesty wrote

    Because RaP commentary is continuously raising imagined territorial kiruv wars here and creating false red herrings. TSP has been inclusive of all Torah-true Jews. The idea is that each community run their own programs. Has anyone - other than RaP commentary! - raised a complaint about TSP? So, why are you searching and searching to see if their may be some sort of territorial war???? And the most you found was that two distinct programs - which have SOME similarities - do NOT mention each other. Is that it?

    good summary. Not conclusion which doesn't violate the rules of logic is true.

  103. Rabbi Michael TzadokOctober 29, 2014 at 12:37 AM

    Rav Eidensohn

    I think you posted this in the wrong thread.

  104. I am looking forward to this book (sorry, sefer), as it is a very important part of halacha, and does not appear in the regular sefarim we see in Kosher bookstores.

  105. thanks - corrected moved it to the correct thread

  106. I'm also excited about this Sefer.

  107. I posed 4 specific questions in my long post beginning with the words, "I think that what is bothering puzzledparent and myself..." to which I have not seen your replies. Thank you.


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