D.C. rabbi accused in videotaping scandal refuses to leave synagogue-owned home
By Michelle Boorstein January 29
A Georgetown rabbi accused of secretly videotaping women in a ritual bath is refusing to vacate the house owned by his former synagogue, and a religious court is being convened to deal with the dispute, the synagogue said Thursday.
News of the dispute was sent to Kesher Israel synagogue members via an e-mail from their president, Elanit Jakabovics. In the e-mail, she lays out a bit of the legal stalemate between Rabbi Barry Freundel, once a leading figure in the national Orthodox community, and Kesher, a small synagogue dotted with prominent Washingtonians.
The synagogue had set a Jan. 1 deadline for Freundel to move out of the Georgetown house where he and his family have lived since the late 1980s, but he did not, the e-mail said. “We were informed in late December that Rabbi Freundel did not have plans to leave the house,” Jakabovics wrote.
Freundel and his attorney, Jeffrey Harris, could not immediately be reached Thursday, but a member of the Kesher leadership said the rabbi — whose salary has been suspended since his October arrest — had asked for more time. The two sides talked, the person said, “but they made unreasonable demands, and we walked away.”
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