Class Action Lawsuit Filed in Rabbi Invasion of Privacy Case

From a press release:

“The Washington, DC law firm of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of women who were allegedly secretly recorded by a prominent Georgetown Rabbi while using a ritual bath.

Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of women who were allegedly visualized and/or recorded while they were naked using a spiritual bath in the Jewish religion called a mikvah. (Case #14-008073, Superior Court of the District of Columbia).

The case involves Rabbi Bernard Freundel, a widely-recognized religious figure and spiritual leader at the Orthodox Jewish synagogue Kesher Israel. In October, Freundel was taken into custody and charged with voyeurism after it was discovered that he allegedly placed hidden cameras in the synagogue’s mikvah, including one concealed in a clock radio.

According to the lawsuit, Freundel would use the hidden cameras to secretly record women as they used the ritual bath in the nude. The mikvah is a sacred fixture for followers of Orthodox Judaism, and is used as part of the cleansing process when a person converts to Judaism or by women after birth and after menstruation. Law enforcement officials have estimated that possibly hundreds of women had their rights violated by Freundel in this way.

Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.’s lawsuit provides any and all women who used any portion of Kesher Israel’s mikvah the opportunity to hold those responsible accountable for Freundel’s egregious invasion of privacy during a time in which they were most vulnerable and closest to their faith. The lawsuit has been filed against Kesher Israel Congregation, the National Capital Mikvah, and the Rabbinical Council of America.”

5 Comment

  • “[W]omen who were allegedly visualized and/or recorded” — “visualized”?? Don’t they mean “watched”??

  • I really hope it is just this creep that is responsible, and not the synagogue as a whole. There are very few orthodox congregations in the district proper, and I would be heartbroken for one to have to shutter its doors. Here’s hoping that disgusting excuse for a Rabbi rots in prison.

    • Fwiw, I appreciate that Kesher booted him as soon as this was discovered.

      • I’m not so sure. I think they might have sat on previous allegations, but only firmly acted once he was caught in the act. I hope I’m wrong about that. The lawsuit should get to the bottom of culpability.

    • From the articles I’ve read about the situation in the Washington Post (and maybe even the NYT? I can’t remember), it was just this one particular rabbi exploiting his power for ill, not something involving anyone else at the synagogue.

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