Needed: Independent Investigation On YU High School Scandal

The Jewish Week

Mon, 12/24/2012

Shmuel Herzfeld

The media has reported serious accusations against two former employees of Yeshiva University’s High School (known as MTA), Rabbi Macy Gordon, a Talmud teacher, and Rabbi George Finkelstein, the principal.

According to reports in The Forward and The New York Times, currently a total of 14 former students have said that there was inappropriate sexual abuse by these educators, going back two to three decades. Some of the students claim that they brought their complaints to Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, who was then President of the University. These complaints were ignored for a long time until finally, these men were let go, but they were allowed to keep their reputations intact and thus continue in their careers as Jewish educators.

I went to MTA from 1988 to1992, and during that time Rabbi Finkelstein was first assistant principal and was then promoted to principal. I never felt any abuse from Rabbi Finkelstein, thankfully, but then again I stayed far away from him. Even at that time, I remember hearing students say that all was not kosher with his behavior. Although I don’t know enough to say that these accusations are accurate, I can say that I was not surprised to read them in the Forward.

If Rabbis Finkelstein and Gordon did what they are accused of then they deserve to be punished. But there is another story here as well – not regarding whether Yeshiva University acted inappropriately in its past behavior with respect to Rabbis Gordon and Finkelstein. We now know that they certainly did.

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