The Washington, D.C. rabbi charged peeping at his synagogue’s mikveh has refused to move out of the synagogue-owned house where he and his family had been living, the congregation said in an email to congregants today.
Rabbi Barry Freundel has pled not guilty to criminal charges of surreptitiously videotaping women showering and changes at the mikveh adjacent to his synagogue, Congregation Kesher Israel.
Freundel was arrested in October and fired by the synagogue board in late November. The synagogue gave him until January 1 to vacate the rabbinic residence on O Street in Georgetown. According to the synagogue’s email, he has not moved out.
“We were informed in late December that Rabbi Freundel did not have plans to leave the house,” the synagogue wrote to congregants in today’s email. “So, we began informal conversations to resolve this issue with Rabbi Freundel and his attorney, but to no avail.”
Kesher Israel’s contract with Freundel requires that all disputes be handled at a rabbinic court. The synagogue said it had begun proceedings against Freundel at the Beit Din of America, the leading Modern Orthodox rabbinic court.
Kesher Israel is a target of at least two civil lawsuits related to Freundel’s misconduct. Both charge that the synagogue should have taken action earlier to remove him from positions of responsibility.
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.