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one day after a lawsuit was filed naming Andron as an alleged molester — telling them that the “the accused person had withdrawn his membership at BRS and agreed not to come to the BRS campus, or attend any BRS event in the future, whether on or off campus.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!
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • 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.