The following chaverim were in attendance or on the conference call:
Alan Abramson, Kenneth Auman, Shalom Baum, Gedalyah Berger, Jack Bieler,
Binyamin Blau, Kenneth Brodkin, Judah Dardik, Mark Dratch, Ira Ebbin,
Zvi Engel, Joel Finkelstein, Dov Fischer, Arie Folger, Efrem Goldberg,
Shmuel Goldin, Avrohom Gordimer, Yonah Gross, Kenneth Hain, Shlomo
Hochberg, Jerold Isenberg, Wesley Kalmar, Benjamin Kelsen, Barry
Kornblau, Daniel Korobkin, Doniel Kramer, Elly Krimsky, Aaron Liebtag,
Akiva Males, Leonard Matanky, Jonathan Morgenstern, Yechiel Morris,
Elazar Muskin, Ari Perl, Chaim Poupko, Steven Pruzansky, Andrew
Rosenblatt, Benjamin Samuels, Yoel Schonfeld, Gideon Shloush, Nisson
Shulman, Shmuel Silber, Adam Starr, Chaim Strauchler, Elie Weinstock,
Shlomo Weissmann, Howard Wolk, David Wolkenfeld, and Michoel Zylberman
Minutes for November 3, 2014 meeting of the RCA Executive Committee
At a special meeting of the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical
Council of America, held by conference call, on Monday, Nov. 3, 2014,
President Leonard Matanky in the chair, and Reuven Tradburks acting on
behalf of the secretary, the following items were discussed:
- Lenny Matanky updated the Executive on the actions of the officers
and leadership following the arrest of Barry Freundel. Our
responsibility lies in the GPS. Women ombudsmen are being appointed to
the batei din, a national ombudsmen is also being appointed. The review
committee of the GPS has been appointed; its mandate does not involve
halachic issues but to create a safe environment for conversion.
- Shmuel Goldin reviewed the complaints made to the RCA
concerning Barry Freundels relationship with converts, in particular
using them as clerical staff and to make contributions. These complaints
were addressed by the RCA President and Vice President as well as by
the leadership of the BDA. Representatives of the RCA (Kenneth Auman)
and the BDA (Allen Fagin) interviewed the complainants and addressed the
concerns directly with Barry Freundel. They felt his explanations were
reasonable and accepted his assurance that he would no longer use the
converts for this clerical work. There was additionally a claim that
Barry Freundel traveled on Amtrak in a sleeper car with a convert.
However, the one making this claim was not willing to be identified or
to address this directly.
- A member of the Vaad of Washington (which received the
original complaint) spoke with Barry Freundel about the allegation and
received a reasonable explanation. Without a way to properly pursue the
matter in a way that assured due process, no further action was taken.
- Alan Fagin and Kenneth Auman reported on the details of their
investigation of Barry Freundel. While answers were given to the issues,
however, the committee felt very poor judgment was exercised by Barry
Freundel. Barry Freundel reported afterward that he discussed the
clerical issues with the shul president.
- Many questions were directed to the presenters, including
oversight issues, decision-making lessons learned, and concerns about
missing issues in this case.
A motion to authorize the retention of legal counsel should there be a
need passed unanimously.