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.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 7 of 7)

“Toward the conclusion of the meeting I got into an exchange with Berman, and I mentioned that I was a victim of his shul’s director general,” Twersky said. “Berman said he didn’t believe what I was alleging.” (Berman said he recalled a conversation with Twersky, but not what the conversation was about.)

The following month, Twersky filed a complaint against Finkelstein with Takana, a Jerusalem-based forum made up of educators, rabbis, yeshiva heads, lawyers and therapists who deal with allegations of sexual harassment and abuse made against clergy.

After hearing Twersky’s testimony, Takana met with several members of the Great Synagogue leadership who said they would look into the matter.

Zalli Jaffe, the Great Synagogue’s vice president, said the board took the allegations raised by Takana “very seriously.” But Finkelstein’s denial and the fact that he was able to become principal of the Hillel school after leaving Y.U. were seen as proof that he was innocent.

Jaffe, a commercial lawyer, said the synagogue had always believed the Israeli police investigation and the Takana investigation to be about the same allegation. He said he was surprised at the time that Israeli police would investigate allegations of abuse decades earlier in the U.S., but that he was “stunned” by the Forward’s suggestion that the police investigation referred to allegations of incidents in the synagogue.

He said that the synagogue had “no reason to suspect anything” when Finkelstein was employed at the synagogue, and that if Finkelstein was providing guidance to anyone in Jerusalem it would have been “outside his position” as director general.

Finkelstein retired from his post as director general of the Great Synagogue last summer, slipping into a lesser role of ritual director. He resigned from that post in December after the Forward published its first story detailing allegations against him.

Nathan Jeffay contributed to this story from Jerusalem.

Contact Paul Berger at berger@forward.com or on Twitter @pdberger


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!
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • 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.