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Following the Forward’s December 13 story, Finkelstein immediately resigned from the Jerusalem Great Synagogue; Gordon was placed on a “leave of absence” from his teaching duties at the Orthodox Union’s Israel Center, in Jerusalem. Both men denied the allegations to the Forward.
The story quoted three former students who said they were sexually abused by Finkelstein in a high school office or at his home, where he coerced them into wrestling with him. Each of the men said he could feel Finkelstein’s erect penis dig into him while the rabbi pinned him to the floor. One of them said Finkelstein kissed him on the neck; another said that Finkelstein declared his love for him. A fourth former student said that Gordon sodomized him with a toothbrush.
By December 18, the Forward had spoken to at least 11 more former students who said Finkelstein emotionally, physically or sexually abused them. Three more former students came forward to say that they were emotionally abused by Gordon, including one man who said that he was sodomized with an item taken from a medicine cabinet in his dorm room.
The former student, who is now in his late 40s and who does not wish to be identified, said he had returned to his dorm room during a lunch break to find Gordon sitting at his desk.
“I do remember that he said: ‘I have three coins in my pocket. If they’re heads, that’s bad for you, and if it’s tails, that’s good for you,’” the man recalled. “And I distinctly remember two heads and one tails, and he said, ‘That’s not good for you.’”
Gordon “pulled my pants down, went to [the] medicine cabinet and inserted something in my anus,” the man said.
Gordon denied that such an incident took place.
Finkelstein did not respond to a request for comment.