Will Yeshiva Make Abuse Report Public?

Alleged Victims Worry About Probe's Scope and Transparency


By Paul Berger

Published January 10, 2013, issue of January 18, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Yeshiva University has declined to say if it will make public the results of an investigation into sexual abuse allegations at its Manhattan high school despite former students’ fears about the scope, openness and motivation behind the probe.

In a statement to the Forward, released January 8, a Y.U. representative promised “a full and completely independent investigation,” but declined to say what will happen to the work now being conducted by an international law firm hired by the university. In a follow-up statement issued the next morning, the representative said that after the investigation was complete, the board expected that it “will be in further communication with the public.” He declined to explain what that means.

Y.U. launched its investigation after the Forward published allegations by three former students that they had been abused by Rabbi George Finkelstein, who served at Y.U.’s High School for Boys from 1968 to 1995, where he rose to become principal. Another student said that he had been abused by a Talmud teacher, Rabbi Macy Gordon, who taught at the school from 1956 to 1984.

Immediately following the story, Finkelstein resigned from his executive position at the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, and Gordon was placed on indefinite leave from his teaching position in Jerusalem.

In the weeks that followed, more than a dozen former students contacted the Forward to say that they had been sexually, emotionally or physically abused by Gordon or Finkelstein. Y.U.’s board of trustees hired a top international law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell, to investigate the allegations, and within days investigators began calling former students to invite them in for an interview.

But former students and legal experts who are experienced in abuse cases have raised concerns about Y.U.’s refusal to tell victims whether the report will ever be publicly released. Some fear it is a public relations ploy or intended to guard against potential lawsuits rather than to investigate how Y.U. staff members may have physically, emotionally and sexually abused boys over almost three decades, despite complaints from students and their families.


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!
  • 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.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • 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.