A lawyer for the synagogue where Rabbi Mordecai Tendler works has written to the Rabbinical Council of America demanding proof of the wrongdoing for which the rabbinic group expelled the spiritual leader. Last month the RCA expelled Rabbi Tendler, a member of a respected rabbinic family, for unspecified “conduct inappropriate for a rabbi” and not cooperating with its 15-month investigation into charges that he engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior with several congregants who had come to him for counseling.
At a meeting packed with his supporters at his Rockland County synagogue, Rabbi Mordechai Tendler emphatically denied all of the charges that resulted in his being expelled from the Rabbinical Council of America the previous week.
In what may be an unprecedented move, the Rabbinical Council of America has expelled Mordechai Tendler, a prominent rabbi from the Monsey, N.Y., area, for “conduct inappropriate for an Orthodox rabbi” and refusing to cooperate with the group’s inquiry.
In a two-sentence decision announced last Friday afternoon, the 1,000-member professional organization of Orthodox rabbis ousted Rabbi Tendler after an investigation for sexual misconduct that took some of the twists and turns one would expect of a prime-time legal drama.
Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, spiritual leader of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun and recently retired head of the Ramaz Jewish day schools on the Upper East Side, is one of Modern Orthodoxy’s elder statesmen. He will soon celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination, but rather than reflecting on his accomplishments with unfettered joy — which include helping between 300 and 400 people convert to Judaism — he is feeling deeply pained about the direction the Orthodox rabbinate is taking when it comes to conversions, and conflicted about his own role in the system.
Israel’s Chief Rabbinate this week announced details of an unprecedented power-sharing agreement with the main association of Orthodox rabbis in the U.S., in a deal that will determine how Orthodox conversions to Judaism here take place.
Walking into a room where the women’s prayer group meets at the Ramaz School, a board member of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance saw about a dozen copies of “Ohel Sarah: Women’s Siddur,” by the ArtScroll imprint of Mesorah Publications.
Still reeling from the shocking deaths of their rabbi and his wife in a fierce house fire last Friday night, the congregants of Young Israel of Scarsdale this week were gathering photos and videos of the couple from their own family albums — taken at simchas and other gatherings — to share with the four Rubenstein children.
In a renewed effort by the Orthodox movementís Rabbinical Council of America to prevent future instances in which husbands refuse to grant their wives a get or religious divorce, the organization has adopted a resolution asking members to refuse to officiate at weddings at which the couple has not signed a prenuptial agreement. Rabbi Basil Herring, executive vice president of the RCA, said that about five years ago 60 percent of his organization's more than 950 members said they would make every effort to encourage couples to sign a prenuptial agreement.
One of the most disturbing aspects of a controversy we covered this week never made it into the story, due to constraints of deadlines and space.
The report was about a prominent Orthodox rabbi’s alleged statements suggesting that it is permissible to cheat on one’s tax return, presumably because Jews only have to be honest in their halachic dealings, and not necessarily in activities outside of that universe.