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Yeshiva Condemns ‘Offensive’ Racial Remarks by Rabbi Hershel Schachter

Yeshiva University has condemned racially loaded remarks made by a top dean of its rabbinic school as “inappropriate” and “offensive.”

Image by Yeshiva University

Rabbi Hershel Schachter, one of Y.U.’s most widely revered rabbinic deans, warned an audience of British rabbis last month that taking reports of child sexual abuse in the Jewish community to the police could result in a Jewish abuser being put “in a cell with a shvartze, in a cell with a Muslim, a black Muslim who wants to kill all the Jews.”

Schachter’s comments were captured on tape and posted Thursday as an audio file on the website FailedMessiah.

On that same day, a Y.U. spokesman responded to a request for comment from the Forward with a statement emphasizing the Y.U faculty’s freedom of speech. The statement added: “Not all statements made by faculty members are consistent with the views of the University. Any offensive or derogatory comments about any people or groups are inconsistent with the values or mission of Yeshiva University.”

But in response to a query from the Anti-Defamation League the following day, Y.U. harshly criticized the respected rabbi.

“The recent use of a derogatory racial term and negative characterizations of African-Americans and Muslims, by a member of the faculty, are inappropriate, offensive, and do not represent the values and mission of Yeshiva University,” a Y.U. spokesman told the ADL.

The ADL called the Forward to offer the quote from Y.U. several hours after the Forward asked the ADL if it had any comment on Schachter’s remarks. Michael Scagnoli, Y.U.’s executive director of communications, confirmed the comments to the Forward afterward.

Etzion Neuer, director of community service and policy for the ADL’s New York region, said: “We think it’s a proper response to an unfortunate situation.”

Contact Paul Berger at berger@forward.com or on Twitter @pdberger

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