Tuesday, April 12, 2005

New Statement from the RCA on Mordecai Tendler

Statement in the Matter of the Investigation ofRabbi Mordecai Tendler
by the Rabbinical Council of America

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

For more information on this case:

In regard to The Rabbinical Council of America investigation and expulsion of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler, the RCA determined that it would not issue any public statement beyond the formal findings of the Vaad and the Executive Committee. However, in light of a concerted campaign to mischaracterize, misrepresent, and distort both the process and its outcome, as well as to demean the eminent and distinguished rabbis who were part of the process, the RCA has elected to make the following statement:

1. The year long investigation took that extended time because the Vaad Hakavod made every effort to follow all the relevant halachic, legal, as well as moral, guidelines and laws, both as regards procedure and substance. The investigation benefited from the advice and guidance of recognized and respected experts in halachah, American law, and psychology. The findings were based on the evidence gathered during the course of the investigation, both on the telephone and in person, and both by outside investigators and members of the Vaad itself. Accordingly, we stand by both the procedural fairness of the proceedings and, equally important, the substantive result reached by us.

2. The investigation was not, and never purported to be, in the nature of a Beit Din proceeding. The RCA constitution calls for a panel of peers to review the activities of a rabbi accused of misbehavior. This is called a Beis Din Hakavod, or a Vaad Hakavod, which has always been understood as referring to an administrative process, not a Beit Din proceeding. This was made clear throughout to the accused and his counsel. As mandated by our constitution, it was an administrative proceeding of a religious organization, entitled to determine in a manner it chooses, who is and who is not fit to be a member.

3. The accused was given repeated opportunities prior to the issuance of the decision to respond to the charges as shared with him, as well as to appear in an appropriate hearing and face his accusers. However he, through his legal counsel, as well as through his wife, clearly and unambiguously turned down in writing such invitations to appear before the Vaad Hakavod. He requested instead that we rely on his written submissions, which we did, in addition to statements made by him in an interview by an independent investigator commissioned by the Vaad Hakavod. Only after the decision was communicated to him, did he offer to appear before the Vaad Hakavod.

4. Any claims or statements to the contrary, be they from rabbis in America or Israel, legal counsel, publicists, journalists, family members, or others, are based on either willful denial of fact or on ignorance resulting from one-sided representations.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was devastated to hear of the accusations made against Rabbi Mordecai Tendler. I cannot possibly pass judgement on the accused or on the alleged victims. I just want to say that Rabbi Tendler has helped many, many people. He has risked his reputation and gone out on a limb in Halachic matters in order to stand up for what is right. He supports the Aguna in obtaining a get, and supports the victim of domestic violence. I know this, because this is what he did for me.

As an orthodox Jewish feminist, I support those who come forward in blowing the whistle on sexual predators. I have come to understand my abusive ex-husband's behavior, seeing it as a sickness that does not prevent him from being an excellent father to our daughter, an excellent performer at his job, etc. An important lesson I have learned is that someone can do truly evil acts, and not be entirely evil. Those who would vilify the accusers for coming forward with their revelations are not that different from those who would portray Rabbi Tendler as nothing but a predator.

No Jew is wholly evil. That is our challenge, and sometimes, our tragedy.

December 03, 2005 12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry you were devastated, unfortunately you need to face reality. He may have been helpful to you, but there were many women he was harmful to.

I have a problem with a man who is considered to be Frum, and also a rabbi to be having sexual relations with a woman, let alone several women. I have even more problems knowing this man is already married.

The most serious issues I have is that he was "counseling" the women he had sexual relations with. If he was a licensed professional he would loose his license. In some states he could also go to prison.

As a feminsit do you have problems with supporting a rabbi who manipulated other women for his own personal gain? Especially when the weapon he used was his penis?

December 04, 2005 12:48 AM  

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