Shocked, saddened

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I was shocked and saddened over reading about the scandal that has unfolded related to Rabbi Freundel (“Doubt, questions plague Freundel converts,” WJW, Oct. 23).  As a former Washingtonian and author of The Jewish Community of Washington D.C., I had visited Kesher Israel on a number of occasions. My great-grandfather Morris Garfinkle was involved with Kesher Israel and in the dedication of the current building back to the year 1931.   

To the leadership and membership of Kesher Israel I want to support you. In this day and age where many wrongdoings by leaders in the Jewish community are covered up, you had the temerity and moral courage to do what was necessary.

To those who were affected by the mikvah scandal and may be turned off by Judaism, do not let the actions of one person, or even a few, turn you away from all that is right and beautiful about our religion. For every leader that is tarnished by unacceptable behavior there are many that strive and achieve moral excellence.

I will not pass judgment on Rabbi Freundel since he is entitled to his day in court and is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a jury of his peers. As flawed as one might prove to be, our Torah gives us examples of how we can approach God for forgiveness. Next month, we will read the Torah portion of Vayeshev where Judah admits openly that he was wrong in his actions related to Tamar (Genesis 38:1-28).  In Samuel II when the Prophet Nathan rebukes King David for his sin related to Batsheva and Uriah (Samuel II 12:1-13), David openly admits his sin and is remorseful. Our religion teaches us that we all fall prey to sin, but we strive to atone for what we have done and emerge as better people.

https://www.washingtonjewishweek.com/enewsletter/

DR. MARTIN GARFINKLE
Staten Island, N.Y.

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