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Community Resources & Updated Information

In the aftermath of the October 14, 2014 arrest of Rabbi Dr. Barry Freundel, this page will be contain public statements by Kesher's Board of Directors as well as community resources and the latest information. 

The page will be updated as additional information becomes available.

Last Updated:May 18, 2015 - 11:10pm


Statement from the Kesher Israel Board of Directors

Click here to read a statement from the Kesher Israel Board of Directors regarding Rabbi Freundel's sentencing on May 15. 
May 18, 2015

Statement from the Kesher Israel Board of Directors

Click here to read a statement from the Kesher Israel Board of Directors regarding Rabbi Freundel's guilty plea. 
February 19, 2015

Rabbinic Residence

Click here for an update on the status of the rabbinic residence. 
January 29, 2015

Statement from the Board of Directors

Click here to read a statement by the Kesher Israel Board of Directors.
November 30, 2014

Rapid Response Teams

For information on Kesher Israel's Rapid Response Teams and working groups dealing with various issues, click here.

Link to Court Case Online

To search the DC Superior Court for updates on the case, click here and enter the following information:
Year: 2014
Type: CMD
Number: 018262

The Court's website includes all of the updated & accurate information from the November 12 Status Hearing.

Support Group for Women Forming

Kesher Israel and the National Capital Mikvah, together with JCADA, are organizing a free closed therapeutic support group for women coping with trauma, harassment, and/or abuse that they have experienced in connection to Mikvah use, the conversion process, or inappropriate rabbinic interactions.

This group will meet once a week for 4 weeks and will provide a safe, confidential space to process your experience, as well as learn tools for dealing with trauma and relieving stress/anxiety that can be effective in your journey to healing.

The group will be facilitated by Dr. Dahlia Topolosky, Psy.D, Licensed Psychologist and JCADA volunteer. To attend, please RSVP to support@jcada.org.

Location: near Foggy Bottom in Washington, DC - when you RSVP, you will receive the address

Dates/Times Offered: Mondays, November 10, November 17, December 1, and December 8, 8-9pm

The development of this group has been closely coordinated with our friends in Shepherd Park and the affected audience should not overlap with the support group that is meeting there on Monday evenings.

Social Services Page

For all information related to social services, please click here.

Welfare Fund

Until further notice, the Welfare Fund will be administered by our Executive Director, Jessica Pelt, and member of the Board, Mordechai Lebenberg. If you have any questions or need to speak to someone, please email them confidentially at welfarefund@kesher.org.

If you requested that kaddish be said for a family member on your behalf through Rabbi Freundel this past year, please complete this form so that kaddish can continue to be said for the appropriate time. 

President's Message to the Community

Click here to read a message to the community from Kesher Israel's president.

Support Group Survey

We are working with JSSA and JCADA to develop support groups and programming based on community needs. Please take a moment to share what would be most helpful by completing this survey.

Media Reports: Israeli Rabbinate Won't Invalidate Conversions

The TImes of Israel is reporting that the Israeli Chief Rabbinate declared that it will not invalidate any conversions performed by Rabbi Dr. Barry Freundel.
http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-rabbinate-wont-invalidate-washington-rabbis-conversions
October 21, 2014

Statement from Kesher's Board of Directors

Click here to read a statement by the Kesher Israel Board of Directors on the ongoing investigation.
October 21, 2014

Chief of Police & Jewish Social Services Presentation

October 20, 2014

Tonight Kesher held a community forum during which law enforcement was able to take questions, discuss victim assistance, and share new details to the extent possible in light of the active investigation. 

During the event, the participants provided the following resources:

Contact information for US Attorney:

Email: usadc.bernardfreundelcase@usdoj.gov
Phone: 202-252-7585
Website for Victim Assistance: http://www.justice.gov/usao/dc/programs/vw/bernard_freundel.html  

Contact information for victim assistance:

Jewish Social Services Agency (JSSA) - https://www.jssa.org/
Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (JCADA) - http://www.jcada.org

List of therapists provided to Kesher Israel for public dissemination
(NOTE: this list of suggested therapists and therapy providers was provided to Kesher Israel. Kesher Israel does not endorse or support any individual.)

Kesher Israel will be working with JSSA and JCADA to develop support groups/programming based on community needs. Please reach out to us to share what would be most helpful.

RCA Announcement on Conversions

Click here for the RCA announcement on conversions conducted by Rabbi Freundel.
October 20, 2014

President's Address on Shmini Atzeret

Click here to read Elanit Jakabovics's address to the Kesher community on Shmini Atzeret.
October 15, 2014

Joint Announcement by Kesher Israel and the National Capital Mikvah

Click here to read the Joint Statement from the Boards of Directors of Kesher Israel and the National Capital Mikvah.
October 15, 2014

Statement on Behalf of the Board of Directors

October 14, 2014

This is a painful moment for Kesher Israel Congregation and the entire Jewish community. At this challenging time, we draw strength from our faith, our tradition, and our fellow congregants.

Upon receiving information regarding potentially inappropriate activity, the Board of Directors quickly alerted the appropriate officials.

Throughout the investigation, we cooperated fully with law enforcement and will continue to do so.

After today’s arrest of Rabbi Dr. Barry Freundel, the Board of Directors suspended him without pay. As always, Kesher Israel will remain open as a place of learning, prayer, and community, including throughout the remainder of the Sukkot holiday.

This is a very difficult time for all of us. We respectfully request that our community be granted privacy. Any further questions should be directed to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Sat, November 17 2018 9 Kislev 5779