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Synagogue Stands by Embattled Rabbi Marc Schneier

A tony New York congregation is standing by its embattled rabbi.

Morris Tuchman, president of The Hampton Synagogue, in Westhampton Beach, N.Y., said that Rabbi Marc Schneier “has served, and continues to serve, our congregation in an exemplary manner and we are proud to have him as our rabbi.”

Schneier was expelled from the Rabbinical Council of America earlier this year, according to a source with first-hand knowledge of the expulsion who refused to be named.

The RCA did not publicize Schneier’s expulsion at the time.

The rabbinic group continues to refuse to comment on when and why Schneier was expelled.

Reached by phone on June 5, Schneier said that the RCA never informed him that he has been expelled and that the idea of him being expelled was “crazy.”

Tuchman said he has never been informed of Schneier’s expulsion either.

Tuchman refused to say if he has checked Schneier’s status with the RCA or if he accepts that his congregation’s rabbi has been expelled.

“Answering these questions implicates the ‘priest-penitent’ or attorney client privilege and I am not ethically at liberty to respond to them,” he said.

Tuchman added: “I will say, however, that Rabbi Schneier is beloved by the congregation/community that he built over the last 25 years.”

Schneier became the focus of tabloid stories in 2010 after it emerged that he was having an extramarital affair with Gitty Leiner, a member of his Westhampton congregation.

The affair was exposed in divorce papers filed by Schneier’s then fourth wife Tobi Rubinstein Schneier.

The RCA convened an internal ethics committee, known as a Va’ad Hakavod, to decide whether Schneier’s alleged infidelity was “unbecoming a rabbi,” according to the New York Jewish Week.

But that investigation was put on hold as Schneier’s divorce wound its way through the courts and a judicial gag order prevented Schneier from cooperating with the RCA.

Schneier married Leiner in 2013. In theory, that should have lifted the judicial gag order and allowed the RCA to complete its investigation.

Schneier could not be reached for comment.

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

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