Talk about rabbinical supervision!
Rabbi Barry Freundel, a graduate of Yeshiva University who until last Monday was the prominent leader of Kesher Israel, the most prestigious Orthodox congregation west of the Hudson River, possessed a large number of storage devices packed with files of women undressing, according to a search warrant filed in D.C. Superior Court.
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On Tuesday, police searched the synagogue on N Street NW as well as Rabbi Freundel’s home nearby, on O Street. In two affidavits unsealed Thursday, police stated the investigation is expanding beyond the six women mentioned in the criminal complaint, the Washington Post reported.
“Numerous individuals have reported to law enforcement that they believe they also may have been surreptitiously recorded in the changing area to the mikvah [ritual bath], ” one of the affidavits reads.
It’s nice to educate the readers about Jewish spiritual customs…
Police say that, on one recording device, they found more than 100 deleted files, some of them labeled with the subjects’ first names, dating back to February.
Police say they seized a camera-equipped clock radio in Freundel’s home, in addition to the one found in the shower area of the mikvah. They now believe the rabbi had been “engaging in the criminal act of voyeurism in several locations and with the use of several devices and over a period of time.”
Police have seized from the rabbi’s home as six external hard drives, seven laptop computers, five desktop computers, three regular cameras, 20 memory cards and 10 flash drives.
Rabbi Freundel, 62, was charged with six counts of voyeurism, a misdemeanor, and was released from custody during a court hearing Wednesday. He pleaded not guilty. His next hearing is scheduled for Nov. 12.
Rabbi Freundel is the author of Why We Pray What We Pray: The Remarkable History of Jewish Prayer. It is a scholarly discussion of the various factors that influenced six important Jewish prayers and shaped how and when Jews recite them.