WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rabbi Barry Freundel was the rabbi of Kesher Israel in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. He was a man of power in his synagogue, and influence in the wider modern Orthodox world. But all of that went away when he was convicted in 2015 on voyeurism charges after spying on and filming women while they undressed and showered at the mikvah, or ritual bath, housed in his synagogue.
Until not too long ago, Tisha B’Av was an “eating day” for me. Every mouthful was a bid for God’s attention. “Look God! I’m drinking coffee! Over here — these blueberry waffles are delicious!” On Yom Kippur I fasted like a champ, but Tisha B’Av was my “un-fast.” “Look God, I’m eating!” It was an act against God, and an act for the sake of my father.
If you think the fact that Mayim Bialik can’t speak for a month will keep her from publicly sharing her opinion, you obviously don’t know Mayim Bialik.
In the past few years, the American Jewish establishment has spoken out against the Israeli Chief Rabbinate’s refusal — sometimes retroactive — to recognize conversions and marriages performed by American rabbis, one of whom, most notably, oversaw the conversion of Ivanka Trump. For many American Jews, the chief rabbinate was, once again, being unnecessarily strict and inconsistent in its application of the law.
However, in the case of mikvehs, or ritual baths, it is the American Orthodox community that lags behind Israel.