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 8 of 8)

In the university’s statement issued on December 3, Joel said that, if true, the abuse allegations represented “heinous and inexcusable acts.” The university advised anyone who needed counseling to contact yucounseling@yu.edu.

“The thought that such behavior may have occurred at our boys high school, or anywhere at this institution, at any time in its past is more than sufficient reason to express on behalf of the university my deepest, most profound regret,” Joel said.

Although Joel told the Forward on December 3 that he was looking into the abuse allegations, Lamm said on December 7 that no one from Y.U. had yet contacted him to ask about them.

Besides, Lamm said, during the period many of the assaults are alleged to have taken place, about 30 years ago, he was preoccupied by the university’s dire financial state. “The question of homosexual relations by teachers or principals… was not that clear, and it was not that significant relative to other things that we were dealing with” at the time, Lamm said.

“We were a sinking ship,” he added. “We were very close to going into bankruptcy, and these were matters that occupied a great deal of my time.”

Asked whether Y.U. made a mistake by not reporting abuses to the authorities, Lamm replied: “We are all human. Show me anyone who is a human being who has not made a mistake.”

But decades later, some former Y.U. High School students remain deeply hurt. Twersky called the lengthy Y.U. statement “empty words.”

“It is clearly disingenuous,” Twersky said. “It’s understandable from an institution that cannot afford to be sued right now and does not want this to blow up… but I also find it offensive.”

The man who said Gordon abused him called Y.U.’s statement “a bland, calculated, defensive response that does not acknowledge past wrongs.”

He also noted that Y.U. later established a scholarship in Gordon’s name.

“As long as the Macy Gordon scholarship exists it will be … a stain on Y.U.,” the man said.

Nathan Jeffay contributed reporting from Jerusalem

Contact Paul Berger at berger@forward.com or follow him on Twitter, @pdberger

Note, December 13: Although the journal The Beacon was affiliated with Y.U. when it launched last year it is no longer affiliated with that institution and its writers are now spread throughout the Modern Orthodox world.


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!
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • 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.