Community

Mordechai Twersky

Hundreds of alumni from Yeshiva University High School for Boys knew that their former administrator, Rabbi George Finkelstein, behaved inappropriately with students during the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. But only one of those students, Mordechai Twersky, battled to ensure that the allegations saw the light of day.

Ignored for decades by Yeshiva University’s presidents Rabbi Norman Lamm and Richard Joel, Twersky finally went public in February 2012, with an article in the online magazine, The Beacon, accusing an unnamed former associate principal of wrestling students “to the ground against their will and pin[ning] his stimulated body over theirs.”

That article brought Twersky a flood of calls and emails from former Y.U. high school students, complaining about abuse at the hands of Finkelstein and other former Y.U. staff members. Twersky, 49, brought these complaints to the Forward, resulting in a series of articles that, in addition to Finkelstein, identified the high school Talmud teacher Rabbi Macy Gordon and Richard Andron, a frequent visitor to the school, as alleged abusers of boys. Subsequently, 34 former students, including Twersky, launched a $380 million lawsuit against Y.U., claiming that the institution fraudulently covered up their abuse.

An eight-month internal investigation commissioned by Y.U. discovered that allegations of abuse were mishandled over several decades at the high school, as well as at other Y.U. institutions. Y.U. refuses to divulge the findings of its investigation, so the extent and severity of the abuse are still unknown. But without Twersky’s brave decision to speak out, the issue of abuse at Y.U. would still be a secret today.

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!
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • 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.