January 05, 2006

Rabbinical Court Slams Embattled Rabbi


By Rukhl Schaechter
January 6, 2006

An ultra-Orthodox rabbinical court in Monsey, N.Y., has waded into the battle over a beleaguered rabbi facing allegations of sexual harassment.

Rabbi Benzion Y. Wosner, head of the Shevet Levi rabbinical court in Monsey, issued a ruling last week (dated Hanukkah 2005) stating that Rabbi Mordecai Tendler, the spiritual leader of a synagogue in nearby New Hempstead, is unfit to serve as an Orthodox rabbi. The ruling was widely distributed to the rabbis and congregants of the local Orthodox synagogues, including Tendler's synagogue, Kehillat New Hempstead. Tendler did not return phone calls from the Forward.

The ruling comes just one week after Adina Marmelstein, a former congregant of Tendler's synagogue, filed a civil lawsuit in Manhattan against Tendler, the scion of a prominent rabbinical family, accusing him of giving her "sex therapy" when she went to him for counseling. Tendler was expelled from the Rabbinical Council of America, a Modern Orthodox organization, in March 2005, after a yearlong investigation of allegations that he sexually harassed women who came to him for spiritual guidance.

Posted by kshaw at January 5, 2006 08:24 AM