Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Mikveh-Peeping Rabbi Barry Freundel Loses Appeal of 6-Year Prison Sentence

— A federal appeals court upheld the prison sentence of Rabbi Barry Freundel, a once-prominent modern Orthodox rabbi in Washington, D.C., who secretly videotaped women in his synagogue’s mikvah.

Freundel, 64, who began serving his sentence in May 2015, was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to 52 counts of voyeurism, a charge that carries up to a year in jail.

The sentencing judge had ordered Freundel to serve 45 days on each count, with the sentences to be served consecutively. Freundel’s attorney had argued on appeal that the sentences should run concurrently, meaning Freundel serve 45 days.

A three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld Freundel’s sentence in a unanimous 20-page ruling.

Before his arrest in 2014, Freundel was the longtime rabbi of Kesher Israel in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., and an active member of the Rabbinical Council of America, an Orthodox rabbinic group.

Freundel is believed to have violated the privacy of at least 150 women, whom he filmed while they undressed and showered at the mikvah, or ritual bath, including members of his Orthodox synagogue, candidates for conversion to Judaism and students at Towson University in Maryland, where Freundel taught classes on religion and ethics. The rabbi also secretly filmed a domestic violence abuse victim in a safe house he had set up for her.

Last September, shortly before the Jewish High Holidays, he issued a letter of apology.

“My preference would be to apologize individually to each person I have hurt,” Freundel wrote. “However, I recognize that reaching out to convey my regret could cause further harm to some and that such contact would be unwelcome. Therefore, I thought that the only solution would be to apologize publicly.”

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.