Rabbi Refuses to Vacate Synagogue-owned House

Rabbi Barry Freundel

The congregation of Kesher Israel synagogue told fired Rabbi Barry Freundel that he needs to vacate the house on O Street provided to him as part of his employment by Jan. 1.

Over a month later, he still has not done so.

Kesner Israeil’s housing was considered part of Freundel’s pay when the synagogue employed him for 26 years. However, he was fired in October after he was charged with six counts of voyeurism.

Freundel’s attorney Jeffrey Harris claims that the synagogue would revoke Freundel’s back wages and his pension of $100,000 if Freundel chooses to stay in the home until March, according to ABC7 news. Lawyers for Kesher Israel argue that this will give the former rabbi plenty of time to move out.
The Georgetown home Freundel inhabits is valued at $1.5 million.

The Rabbinical Council of America has gotten involved in regard to this case. The RCA established a committee to review the conversion process and protect converts. Recomendations from the committee were reported to the RCA Jan. 31. They will be released to the public at an unknown time.

It is alleged that Freundel filmed women while they undressed and cleansed themselves in the ritual bath at the National Capital Mikvah, including a Georgetown student. He acted as professor for one of her classes.

In mid-December, two more women added their names to the class action lawsuit being brought against the man. The civil lawsuit was filed with the D.C. Superior Court. The women claim to have been sexually exploited, but it is not clear if they were also videotaped in the ritual baths.

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