Yeshiva U. Rabbi George Finkelstein Acted Inappropriately Even After Ouster

Wrestled With Boys in New Posts in Florida and Jerusalem


By Paul Berger

Published February 28, 2013, issue of March 08, 2013.
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He said Finkelstein would invite him to his synagogue office mostly when no one else was around. “He would say, ‘I love you. Do you love me?’” the man recalled. “At a certain point he wanted me to hug him. He would always seem to press me too tightly.”

“After hugging me, he would push me,” the man said. “He’s got a big office in a shul with an operating budget of millions of dollars and I’m like, ‘What the hell is going on here?’”

He said that the “bizarre relationship” continued as the “gray-haired” rabbi, now in his 60s, graduated from pushing to “tussling” and then to wrestling. One day, he found himself pinned to the floor in Finkelstein’s Jerusalem home, his face pressed to the ground. “I could feel his [penis] pushing against me,” the man said. “It was such a thin line between a wrestling move and humping someone.”

After contacting the police, the man also opened an anonymous email account and sent an email to the synagogue warning them about Finkelstein. He said that he never received a response.

“These are extremely painful memories, you can’t imagine,” the man said.

Jacob Rowe, a Great Synagogue board member, did not directly address whether the synagogue received an anonymous complaint about Finkelstein. But he said that he never heard “anything but positive” things about Finkelstein. “People who make anonymous things are destroyers of Judaism,” Rowe said. “No one can be protected against anonymous things like this.”

Rowe said Finkelstein still attends the synagogue and is welcomed warmly. “Everybody knows him to be a tzaddik [righteous man] here,” Rowe added.

One year after the police complaint was made, Mordechai Twersky, a former student of Y.U. High School, said he also tried to warn the Great Synagogue board.

Twersky said Finkelstein wrestled him several times in 1980, during his junior year at the school. In February 2010, he attended a meeting in Jerusalem where he met Tobias Berman, an officer of the Great Synagogue.


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