In a Trenton, N.J., courtroom last week, Rabbi Juda Mintz, a charismatic Orthodox champion of Jewish pluralism, stood before a federal judge, his fate in the balance. He faced Federal District Court Judge Mary Cooper, charged with downloading child pornography onto his synagogue computer. The rabbi and his followers hoped the judge would allow him to serve his time at the Los Angeles residential Jewish addiction center he moved to a year ago.
Experts in sexual ethics violations among clergy are criticizing Temple Emanu-El for the way it has handled the arrest of its cantor, Howard Nevison, on charges that he sexually abused his young nephew.
“It’s a huge mistake that they kept him on” after Nevison brought the issue to the attention of synagogue leaders, said Dr. Samuel Klagsbrun, director of the pastoral psychiatry program at the Jewish Theological Seminary, which ordains rabbis and cantors.
Richard Joel was unequivocal: one strike and you should be out.
The head of the Jewish campus organization Hillel, and chairman of the commission convened to look into the Orthodox Union’s mishandling of the misdeeds of former youth leader Rabbi Baruch Lanner, said any religious leader behaving in a sexually or physically abusive manner should be kicked out of whatever position he inhabits.
“It’s a no-brainer,” said Joel. “Leadership is a right, not a privilege.”
In what is likely a first at a conference under Orthodox auspices, new research on sexual dysfunction among observant women reveals that they have about the same problems in the marriage bed as do other American women.
The initial findings of the study, carried out by New York psychiatrist Dr. Michelle Friedman, will be released at this weekend’s Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance gathering.