March 01, 2006

Rabbi Tendler Suspended From Monsey Synagogue

The Jewish Week

Staff Report

Rabbi Mordechai Tendler was suspended Sunday by the boards of his Rockland County synagogue as a result of longstanding allegations about his sexual behavior, but the rabbi has refused to leave.

According to several congregants, the board of directors and the board of trustees of Kehillat New Hempstead acted to cut off the rabbi’s salary and prevent him from serving as their spiritual leader, apparently shaken by a lawsuit filed recently by a woman against the rabbi and the synagogue charging him with giving her “sexual therapy” to increase her chances of finding a husband. Some say that board members were shown physical evidence to bolster charges against the rabbi.

Rabbi Tendler has denied all wrongdoing and insisted that he is the victim of an effort to undermine his reputation, though he has refused to speak to the press.

One of the synagogue’s six members of the board of trustees told The Jewish Week that Rabbi Tendler was “suspended indefinitely, until his innocence is proven in a court of law.” The board member, who asked not to be named, said the rabbi has a life contract with the synagogue and that terminating it would be complicated.

Rabbi Tendler is seeking to take the synagogue to a bet din of his choosing, but the board member said the synagogue would not agree, believing the bet din would be biased in favor of the rabbi.

Posted by kshaw at March 1, 2006 03:28 PM