From Rising Jewish Ed Star To Kiddie Porn Perp
05/04/2012 - 14:36

How do you tell your kid his or her teacher has been busted for possessing child porn?

That’s the unpleasant task parents, teachers and administrators at Yeshivat Noam, a Modern Orthodox day school in Paramus, N.J., have had to take on this week.

Evan Zauder, a sixth grade teacher at Noam was arrested late Monday night in his Manhattan apartment. His computer, seized by the FBI, apparently contained hundreds of downloaded-from-the-Internet videos and images of young boys engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

An unknown, for now — but obviously a concern for administrators and parents at Noam, and other places where he’s worked with children — is whether Zauder, 26, ever behaved inappropriately with children in his care, or if his crimes are limited to illegal porn consumption. (Pornographic images of children are illegal because, as FBI Assistant Director in Charge Janice Fedarcyk said in a statement: “The market for child pornography creates demand for production of images, and every photo and video is a record of abuse.”)

According to an e-mail Noam’s headmaster sent out to parents (which explains how the school is handling the situation and has suggestions for parents) Zauder “is not being accused of doing anything illegal at Yeshivat Noam and we have no reason to believe that any of our students are involved or affected in any way.”

The bust is sure to be the hot topic around Shabbat tables and in rabbis’ sermons this weekend. In fact, it seems tailor-made for this week’s Torah portion: Parshat Kedoshim, the chapters from Leviticus commanding Jews to “be holy” and detailing numerous do’s and don’ts of behavior, many of them sexual. Among them: “Do not degrade your daughter and make her a harlot,” as well as the line about lying with another man (one that many liberal Jews have re-interpreted in recent years) long interpreted as the basis for prohibiting homosexuality.

The whole case is depressing, not just because it shines a light on the child porn industry (which, hopefully, can be curtailed by busts like this), but also because Zauder otherwise looked like such a poster boy for Jewish education, having worked in some of Modern Orthodoxy’s most storied institutions: not just Yeshivat Noam, but Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, Camp Stone, Bnei Akiva.

Until Monday night, he was on the cusp of earning both rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University (where he got his BA with honors in 2009) and a master’s in education and Judaic studies from New York University, where he was one of a handful of Jim Joseph Foundation fellows. A day school grad (Toronto’s CHAT), he also studied at Yeshivat Hakotel in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Somewhat eerily, his Facebook page remains up, featuring a photo of him, in happier times, decked out for what appears to be a Purim spiel: in sunglasses, a backward baseball cap and what appears to be Mardi Gras beads.

It is hard not to look at one of his “favorite quotations” now without wincing: “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove... but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”

view counter

Add comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Comment Guidelines

The Jewish Week feels comments create a valuable conversation and wants to feature your thoughts on our website. To make everyone feel welcome, we won't publish comments that are profane, irrelevant, promotional or make personal attacks.



You're writing this like he's guilty already. Why don't we wait for the facts and the guilty verdict before we throw him to the wolves, huh?

What Evan Zauder is accused of is dastardly and horrendous and every other adjective that can be tossed in, but I find Wiener's blog about this very cheeky and almost surrealistic in a near under the surface glee that this happened to an Orthodox educator. I respectfully request that Ms. Wiener refrain from offering up her "dvrei torah" (sic) any more. Certainly referring to a possuk as a "line" treats the entire Torah as play or TV show or worse. If you want to quote a "line"- try quoting one from Seinfeld- that is an area that you certainly know more about that than Judaism.
The whole case is much more than "depressing". Its horrible. And disgusting. What is "depressing" is the specter of an inter-married Jewish person blogging for a respected Jewish publication and pretending taht this is mainstream.
Evan her opening line of the blog almost would have been better used for a movie review.

Have you people ever heard of "innocent until proven guilty"? being arrested is bad, but it does not in any prove that there was actually a crime!

You keep on harping that he is guilty. No such thing has been demonstrated at all.

Why can't you give him the simple legal and human decency of the benefit of the doubt until his trial concludes?

“Do not degrade your daughter and make her a harlot,” as well as the line about lying with another man (one that many liberal Jews have re-interpreted in recent years) long interpreted as the basis for prohibiting homosexuality.


Why would you even bring up homosexuality over here??? This is about child pornography. Really?? Seriously, what are you trying to equate here? Someone that is into child pornography is Homosexual? This irks me because it is ignorant and unfair to blame this on homosexuality. It perpetuates the lie that pedophiles or such are homosexuals. Do your research and be more sensitive when writing. No you can not get away with this type of rhetoric without being called out!

Rich Dweck

Are you serious? I cannot believe this article was posted. Clearly, you must have had trouble reading that "it's an allegation". Plus, forget about all that... until he's proven guilty of this crime, why are you badmouthing him and posting this? It's a shame that you feel this article HAD to be posted and that putting him down was the way to go.

The Teaneck Patch article got some info wrong, and you copied it. He taught all middle schoolers, not just 6th grade.