Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
News

‘Sauna Rabbi’ Emerges as Psychological Counselor in Westchester

A rabbi who made headlines for taking young male congregants on sauna trips has found a new job as a spiritual advisor in a health center in Westchester, New York.

Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt is providing spiritual and psychological counseling at Scarsdale Integrative Medicine, a medical center that combines traditional Western medicine with alternative treatment according to its website.

The health center lists Rosenblatt as a counselor and makes no mention of his controversial past, but states he has a wide range of counseling experience.

“Rabbi Rosenblatt has deep experience across a broad spectrum of challenges: coping with serious illness and bereavement, stressful family relationships, parenting challenges, life transitions, loss of a sense of meaning and direction, workplace conflicts,” reads Rosenblatt’s biography on the Scarsdale Integrative Medicine.

In May 2015, the New York Times exposed that Rosenblatt had been taking trips to the sauna with boys from his congregation, the Riverdale Jewish Center, after taking them to play racquetball. While there were no reports of inappropriate touching, some congregants were disturbed by the unusual activity.

Rosenblatt resigned from his position as senior rabbi of the Orthodox Riverdale synagogue in February.

Rosenblatt’s lawyer, Meyer Koplow, said the health center had hired the controversial clergyman for his pastoral skills, according to the Riverdale Press.

“Rabbi Rosenblatt, over the years, did a lot of work at various hospices,” said Meyer Koplow. “At one of the hospices where he worked, he did a lot of work with one of the doctors in Scarsdale Integrative Medicine. When that doctor became aware that the rabbi was free of his responsibilities at the RJC, he reached out to the rabbi to ask whether he would be interested in doing counseling in this group practice he has.”

But Sura Jeselson, who was involved in recording complaints against Rosenblatt in the 1980s, worried the new position could provide him with new opportunities for inappropriate behavior.

“If he were planning to be an accountant or a bookkeeper, I wouldn’t have a comment. He is doing the same sorts of things that got him into these sticky situations,” the Riverdale Press quoted her as saying.

Contact Josefin Dolsten at [email protected] or on Twitter, @JosefinDolsten

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.