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“It was just constant [fear],” Hakalir added. “If you weren’t afraid or anxious that day, then [Finkelstein] had not accomplished his task for that day.”
Then there was the wrestling. In an interview with the Forward, Finkelstein said that the grappling was “a way of trying to remove the distance between students and faculty.” But former students have told the Forward that it constituted much more. Ivan Hartstein, who attended the high school from 1978 to 1982, said Finkelstein invited him to his apartment one night because he was lagging in his Judaic studies. “I didn’t want to go,” said Hartstein, who already disliked the way Finkelstein rubbed his back all the way down to his belt line, checking to see if he was wearing tzitzit, ritual undergarments.
When Hartstein arrived at the apartment, Finkelstein was home alone. “The deal was if I couldn’t answer the questions, he would wrestle me to the floor,” Hartstein said.
“It was pretty quick that he was on top of me. I was on the ground and he was on top of me. I could feel his breath on my neck, and his erection pressing against my butt.”
Hartstein, who was 16, said he pushed Finkelstein off and left. Zack Belil, who attended the high school at the same time, also said he was wrestled by Finkelstein and felt his erection pushing against him.
Barry Singer, who graduated from the high school in 1975, said Finkelstein wrestled with him and also put his hand down his trousers during a tzitzit check.
Another man, who did not wish to be named, said Finkelstein wrestled with him through the 10th and 11th grades at Y.U. high school, occasionally telling him that he loved him. After the student left the school in 1983, Finkelstein met the former student at a yeshiva in Israel and invited him back to his room at the Laromme Hotel — now known as the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel — which had two beds.
The man said that once he and Finkelstein were in the hotel room, Finkelstein began to wrestle. The man recalled, “He had me pinned on all fours and began to reach for my privates.”