Tags: DC | Orthodox | rabbi | mikvah | Barry Freundel | videotape

D.C. Rabbi May Have Taped 150 Women at Ritual Bath

By    |   Friday, 13 Feb 2015 09:10 AM

An Orthodox rabbi in Washington, D.C., may have illicitly videotaped at least 150 women as they undressed in preparation for a ritual bath known as a mikvah, according to The Washington Post.

In October, police arrested 63-year-old Rabbi Barry Freundel, who spent 25 years as the rabbi at Kesher Israel Congregation in Georgetown before being fired in November. He has been charged with misdemeanor voyeurism for allegedly spying on six women with a camera hidden in a clock.

But the Post reports that law enforcement told some of the women that they need help identifying some 88 more women who were also secretly recorded. The statute of limitations has run out for another 64 women allegedly recorded between 2009 and 2011, some of the women told the Post.

Observant Jewish women take the ritual bath – a mikvah – seven days after their menstrual period or childbirth. Immersion in the bath signifies purity and is required before the woman and her husband can resume marital relations.

The Jewish Daily Forward reported in December that two lawsuits had been filed alleging that the Rabbinical Council of America and the synagogue were aware of inappropriate conduct by Freundel before the mikvah recordings were discovered.

Both suits, which are seeking class action status, maintain that the Rabbinical Council of America and Congregation Kesher Israel should have gotten rid of Freundel based on earlier behavior.

"One of the suits underlines odd behavior by Freundel relating to the mikvah, noting that he allowed non-Jews to attend rituals there and that he invented the notion of 'practice dunks,'" according to the Daily Forward. That suit also quotes an unnamed Kesher Israel staff member saying that Freundel "treated the mikvah like a car wash. Every Sunday, six students at a time."

Freundel "was a leader in pushing for the creation of a mikvah" in 2005, according to an October Washington Post story published after Freundel's arrest.

Freundel was well-respected in modern Orthodoxy, according to the newspaper, noting that he has taught at Baltimore Hebrew University, the University of Maryland and Georgetown University School of Law, and has served as a consultant to the National Institutes of Health on ethical issues.

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An Orthodox Washington rabbi may have illicitly videotaped at least 150 women as they undressed in preparation for a ritual bath known as a mikvah, according to The Washington Post.
DC, Orthodox, rabbi, mikvah, Barry Freundel, videotape
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2015-10-13
Friday, 13 Feb 2015 09:10 AM
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