Tuesday, October 14, 2014

UPDATES A GO GO: Reporters and Detectives Seeking to Talk to Freundel Converts

Just passing this along as an FYI.

Steven Weiss of The Jewish Channel is looking to talk to people who converted under Rabbi Freundel in DC. If you're not already aware, Freundel has been arrested on charges of voyeurism related to an alleged camera in the mikvah. The most detailed story I've seen is in the Forward.

You can contact him through Facebook or email him at steveniweiss at gmail. Here is his Facebook post:
I've been working on an investigation into Rabbi Barry Freundel for many months, and I hope to publish the first installment tonight/tomorrow. I've been speaking about it in vague terms until now, never naming any specific rabbis, but the cat is now out of the bag. So, if you haven't spoken with me, and have anything substantive to share about the rabbi, the conversion process, the RCA, or similar, please message me and we'll talk. I'm granting carte blanche off-the-record status to anyone who reaches out to me; anything you tell me will be as if it's going into a black box, and will never be spoken or written of by me until and unless we reach a further agreement in which you explicitly grant me such permission.
Please share this status far and wide.

If you converted in DC, you are probably worrying about the validity of your conversion. In short, I don't believe you have reason to worry. And if you are still concerned, there are ways to arrange a geirut l'chumrah, but I think that is overkill (as a general rule, of course) unless you are asked to do one. However, you may be contacted by the police if any footage of you (Gd forbid) surfaces during the investigation.


UPDATE:
The JTA (Jewish Telegraph Agency) is also looking to talk to RBF converts. Contact Gabrielle Birkner at gbirkner (at) jta.org.


ANOTHER UPDATE:
If you believe you may be a victim, please send a photo of your face, your name at the time of conversion, and any other relevant info to George Desilva (MPD) at
george.desilva (at) dc.gov. Footage may go as far back as 2010 or even earlier, though the charges currently only go back to June 2014.

UPDATES A GO GO: 
More reporter info:

Amanda Borschel-Dan, with the Times of Israel
amanda@timesofisrael.com

Suzanne Pollak, Senior Writer at the Washington Jewish Week
spollak@washingtonjewishweek.com

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