Y.U. Report on Sex Abuse Draws Mixed Reaction From Modern Orthodox

Some Say Administration Keeping Lid on Crucial Findings

Regret and Shame: Yeshiva U. President Richard Joel expressed regret and shame over the findings of the report, even though it states that conditions improved under his leadership.
yeshiva university
Regret and Shame: Yeshiva U. President Richard Joel expressed regret and shame over the findings of the report, even though it states that conditions improved under his leadership.

By Paul Berger

Published August 28, 2013, issue of September 06, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 5)

Last year, a report into allegations of sexual abuse and cover-up over many years at Penn State University was released fully and without preconditions by the school, despite pending legal action. In that case, former FBI director Louis Freeh, published a damning, 144-page report that blamed key Penn State administrators, including its president and the school’s revered longtime football coach, Joe Paterno, for covering up abuse allegations over 14 years.

In the Forward’s December 2012 article, Rabbi Norman Lamm, a former president of Y.U., said that during his tenure, which ran from 1976 to 2003, he dealt with credible allegations of improper behavior against staff by quietly allowing them to leave and find jobs elsewhere. The allegations were made against staff “not only at [Y.U.’s] high school and college, but also in [the] graduate school,” Lamm said.

Lamm presided over three Y.U. high schools — two boys schools and one school for girls — three undergraduate schools and several other schools such as the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.

In the December article and in subsequent reports, the Forward interviewed about 20 students who said they were abused by Finkelstein and by Gordon, a senior Talmud instructor, covering a period from the late 1970’s into the early 1990’s. Finkelstein, an administrator, served as the school’s principal during part of this time.

There was initial skepticism when Y.U. announced it would commission an independent investigation. Y.U.’s board issued a statement in January that said: “The Board of Trustees is fully aware that it will be judged on the manner in which it conducts this critical and sensitive matter and, in that connection, will, as always, seek to meet, if not exceed, the best possible practices employed by institutions that have confronted similar circumstances.”


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!
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • 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?
  • 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.