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.
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Twersky, who ran Y.U.’s high school newspaper and went on to work in the university’s publicity department, is the son of Avram Twersky, a leading Modern Orthodox communal leader in the Bronx for four decades.

“That both perpetrator and victim were fully-clothed, that there was no sexual penetration, does not make this violation, this searing betrayal, any less blasphemous,” Twersky wrote in The Beacon. He told the Forward that he was assaulted twice at Y.U. High School and once at Finkelstein’s home.

Two weeks later, the man who says he was attacked by Gordon published an anonymous letter in The Beacon, lamenting that Gordon had been able to retire without any recriminations.

Yet Y.U. officials today appear to be treating the Forward’s inquiries about accusations against both men as though they have only just heard of them.

Twersky says that is impossible. He said that he first complained about Finkelstein’s inappropriate wrestling to Lamm in 1986.

Twersky said he contacted Lamm again in 2000 after the Orthodox world was rocked by a scandal involving Rabbi Baruch Lanner, a leader of the Orthodox Union’s National Conference of Synagogue Youth who was outed by the New York Jewish Week newspaper for emotionally and physically abusing boys and girls. A wide-ranging investigation commissioned by the O.U. found that its own officials knew of the allegations against Lanner for years yet did nothing to stop him.

Shocked by the parallels between the Lanner scandal and Y.U.’s failure to act against Finkelstein, Twersky said he sent Lamm a long email in August 2000, asking for compensation and threatening legal action. Lamm said he has no recollection of that email.

Twersky said that several weeks after he sent the email, Y.U.’s vice president, Miller, visited him in Israel. According to Twersky, Miller told him that Y.U. was aware of Finkelstein’s behavior. But, Miller said, experts had assured Y.U. that Finkelstein could be treated and remain in his position.


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