Boca Raton Synagogue Demands Answers on Accused Y.U. Pedophile Richard Andron

What Did Rabbis Know and When Did They Know It?

Scandal Shul? Some congregants at the Boca Raton Synagogue are asking whether current or former rabbis knew of the allegations that followed accused pedophile Richard Andron to their community.
Scandal Shul? Some congregants at the Boca Raton Synagogue are asking whether current or former rabbis knew of the allegations that followed accused pedophile Richard Andron to their community.

By Paul Berger

Published July 18, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Some congregants at a synagogue in Boca Raton, Fla., are asking whether current or former rabbis knew of the allegations that followed accused pedophile Richard Andron to their community.

“The rabbi needs to explain to all of us, how and why this situation occurred and what will be done in the future to (ensure) that this kind of neglect does not happen again,” one angry congregant, Irv, wrote on the Frum Follies blog.

Efrem Goldberg, senior rabbi of Boca Raton Synagogue, did not respond to several requests for comment.

But two men have told the Forward that they tried to warn Goldberg’s predecessor, Kenneth Brander, about Andron. Brander led the Boca Raton congregation from 1991 until 2005, when he took a post as dean of Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future.

Kenneth Brander
Kenneth Brander

One man who said that he was molested by Andron for three years told the Forward that he called Brander during the early 1990s.

“I told [Brander], he’s definitely a pedophile,” the man said, referring to Andron. “[Brander said] he would look into it, and he never called me back.”

Another man said he tried to warn Brander about Andron a little more than a decade ago.

The man said he tried to call Brander “four or five times,” but Brander did not respond. So the man said he “had to leave a very uncomfortable message” with someone in the Boca Raton Synagogue office. Later, a “third party” from the synagogue contacted the man to say that the allegations against Andron were “rumors” and that “in any case, it’s behind him,” the man said.

The synagogue, where Andron has been a member for decades, sent an email to congregants on July 9 — one day after a lawsuit was filed naming Andron as an alleged molester — telling them that the “the accused person had withdrawn his membership at BRS and agreed not to come to the BRS campus, or attend any BRS event in the future, whether on or off campus.

“Be advised that there have been no allegations we are aware of that any improper conduct occurred within the past 30 years, or in our community” the email read.

Yeshiva University promoted Brander to vice president for university and community life at the end of June. He did not respond to several requests for comment.

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!
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • 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.