The only organization of Orthodox Rabbis in the Metropolitan Washington area that is responsible for kashrut supervision. (The Washington Vaad.) Maintains a Beth Din which deals with matters affecting Jewish Family Status, i.e. adoption in accordance with Jewish law, marriage, and divorce as well as with the adjudication and/or arbitration of financial disputes, and provides all services essential to the traditional Jewish community. Maintains the city-wide Chevrah Kadisha (provides services essential for the deceased).
ISSUED: OCTOBER 20, 2014
Since the first revelation, on the eve of the Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah holiday, of the violations of trust thrust upon our community by the arrest of Rabbi Barry Freundel, the members of the Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington (RCW) have been reaching out to community members and leaders and to anyone who may have been victimized to provide assistance and support. Our hearts go out to the victims and to Kesher Israel Congregation. We will continue in the days ahead to support and assist those in need and to work to restore trust and the highest standards of moral and ethical leadership and practices.
Immediately upon the conclusion of Simchat Torah, the RCW completed the internal process required by its by-laws and took the following action:
In light of the recent arrest and pending criminal charges against Rabbi Barry Freundel, which charge Rabbi Freundel with having committed acts of a public and private nature unbecoming to a rabbi and having acted in a manner detrimental to the best interests of the community and individuals whom he served, the Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington hereby, effective immediately, suspends the membership of Rabbi Freundel including any and all positions and offices including Vice President.
The conversion Beth Din headed by Rabbi Freundel is an affiliate of the Rabbinical Council of America and the Beth Din of America. The Rabbinical Council of America and Beth Din of America have advised the RCW that they have and are addressing the urgent issues and concerns regarding the conversion Beth Din and individuals who have converted or are presently undergoing conversion. Persons in need of assistance should contact Rabbi Mark Dratch, MSW, Executive Vice President of the RCA at email@example.com or 212.807.9000.
The RCW did not learn of the voyeurism and related allegations of misconduct until they were reported in the press. The sole allegation brought to the RCW's attention was in the summer of 2013 and in a totally unrelated matter. One person approached the RCW with a concern about Rabbi Freundel's behavior, which if true would be improper under Jewish law and conduct unbecoming a rabbi or communal leader but not illegal or connected in any way with voyeurism. We wished to pursue the concern thoroughly, but the accuser would not permit the RCW to share the details of the accusation with Rabbi Freundel. In deference to the individual, we were only able to discuss the issue in a limited manner with Rabbi Freundel who refuted the general accusation. Without further cooperation from this individual, we were not able to pursue the matter further. The RCW subsequently learned that this individual also contacted the Rabbinical Council of America.
October 15, 2014
The Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington was shocked to learn of the criminal charges being brought against Rabbi Barry Freundel. The privacy of women is central to our beliefs and we deplore, in the strongest words possible, any violation of a woman's privacy. We have deep sympathy and compassion for any woman whose privacy was violated. Jewish law demands that all rabbis and Jewish leaders conduct themselves ethically and morally and in accordance with the standards of Torah and Halacha. We deplore and condemn any conduct that desecrates the trust placed in Rabbis and communal leaders. We have zero tolerance for any behavior that violates Jewish law and the laws of the society in which we live.
We have initiated the internal process with regard to Rabbi Freundel's status in the Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington.
As this is an active matter in the criminal justice system we must reserve comment on the pending case.