Student Claims of Abuse Not Reported by Yeshiva U.

Lamm Says He Let Alleged High School Abuser Leave Quietly

Accused: Yeshiva University High School for Boys, where George Finkelstein (left inset) and Macy Gordon (right inset) are alleged to have had inappropriate sexual contact with students, is located in Manhattan. Both men deny the charges. These images were taken from the 1970 Elchanite Yearbook.
Courtesy of Yeshiva University
Accused: Yeshiva University High School for Boys, where George Finkelstein (left inset) and Macy Gordon (right inset) are alleged to have had inappropriate sexual contact with students, is located in Manhattan. Both men deny the charges. These images were taken from the 1970 Elchanite Yearbook.

By Paul Berger

Published December 13, 2012, issue of December 21, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 5 of 8)

“I would sleep over [at Finkelstein’s house], and he would say to his wife, ‘Fredda, Simmy and I, we’re going to knock heads.’ Then, he would lock the door and wrestle with me,” Weber said.

“You could tell what was going on in his pants,” Weber added. “It wasn’t just a wrestling match.”

After Weber left Y.U. High School, he heard that Finkelstein had been promoted to principal from assistant principal. So he took his allegations against Finkelstein to Lamm. But Weber said Lamm refused to act.

“Everybody knew [Finkelstein] wrestled with boys,” Weber added. “Nobody cared.”

High school staff members also knew of Finkelstein’s wrestling habit. Elan Adler, director of the school’s dormitory from 1981 to 1986, said at least a couple of boys told him that “Rabbi Finkelstein would wrestle them sometimes,” and that “he would sometimes be inappropriately aggressive.”

Asked to explain what “inappropriately aggressive” meant, Adler said, “They talked about his hands on private places, but they weren’t sure what to make of it; when you wrestle, hands go everywhere.”

Adler, who described Finkelstein as “a decent, caring and competent person,” said the boys’ comments about Finkelstein’s wrestling were made during routine discussions about what students had done that weekend, which were common in his role as director of the dormitory.

“I don’t recall… anyone complaining per se or asking for advice, or any parent calling and asking any questions or bring[ing] up the subject,” Adler said. “I didn’t report anything, as there was nothing compelling to report.”

Over the years, former Y.U. High School students have detailed what they say is Finkelstein’s inappropriate behavior on websites and blogs. Earlier this year, galvanized by the unraveling abuse and cover-up scandal at Penn State University, Mordechai Twersky, a journalist in Israel, published a call for Y.U. to come to terms with its past in Y.U.’s unofficial online student newspaper, The Beacon. Twersky recounted how an unnamed “associate principal” used to wrestle students “to the ground against their will and pin his stimulated body over theirs.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Despite the great pain and sadness surrounding a captured soldier, this should not shape the face of this particular conflict – not in making concessions and not in negotiations, not in sobering assessments of this operation’s achievements or the need to either retreat or move forward." Do you agree?
  • Why genocide is always wrong, period. And the fact that some are talking about it shows just how much damage the war in Gaza has already done.
  • Construction workers found a 75-year-old deli sign behind a closing Harlem bodega earlier this month. Should it be preserved?
  • "The painful irony in Israel’s current dilemma is that it has been here before." Read J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis of the conflict:
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.