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Although he denied knowing about Twersky’s allegations, Broyde, a member of the RCA’s executive committee, said he had heard rumors about Finkelstein. “There had always been a rumor out there that there were kids who said this going back I don’t know how long,” Broyde said.
Weber said that in 2001 he persuaded Rabbi Hershel Schachter, a Y.U. seminary official, and Rabbi Basil Herring to contact the school in Florida to warn about Finkelstein. Herring, who went on to serve as executive vice president of the RCA from 2003 until 2011, declined to comment “on the record.” Schachter did not return calls for comment.
The Forward tried multiple times to contact Rafael Quintero, chief operating officer of the Florida school, about this report and to find out if any complaints had been made against Finkelstein. A colleague at the school said Quintero was “extremely busy.”
Weber also said he confronted Joel about Finkelstein several years ago, but nothing happened.
In Israel, the allegations against Finkelstein and against Gordon, who immigrated in 1985, have dogged both men.
Finkelstein and Gordon are listed as members of the advisory board of the Council of Young Israel Rabbis in Israel.
But Michael Strick, the organization’s executive director, said that the advisory board was suspended “three or four” years ago. Strick said the organization had heard “over the course of time” about allegations against the two men but had “no way of investigating.”
Strick insisted that the allegations were not the main reason for suspending the 13-member advisory board. But he acknowledged that the allegations against both men were “maybe in the background” of the decision.
Meanwhile, Lanton said that the Jerusalem Great Synagogue was informed about four years ago that Finkelstein “had been summoned to [Israeli] police following a complaint reiterating [an abuse allegation].”