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May 12, 2013


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Mr. Fineman how many times are you going to remind us that you are physician? Can you handle being called mister?

Nigritude Ultramarine

@Robin "Honestly, if they'd done the check, it still wouldn't come up with anything."

I believe your statement is predicated on the notion that a pre-employment background check only looks for criminal activity. A proper background check would look at a more expansive spectrum of information to develop a more complete picture of an applicant.

In addition to criminal activity, a proper background check would look at the applicant's

* employment history
* educational history
* driving history
* credit history
* and so much more!

The LinkedIn profile that accompanies this post is not the résumé of an educator. The paucity of education credentials and experience alone should have been enough to rule him out as a teacher.


Uri, you're making quite a leap to go from questioning the school's professionalism to why does this school exist at all. Who funds this school has nothing to do with what happened there. Critique their laziness in not doing a background check (even if it is dotting an i as someone said above), critique their decision to hire a man with no formal training as a teacher to run a classroom, or critique their educational philosophy if you really don't agree with it. But I honestly don't think you can critique their donors unless they KNEW there was abuse going on and actively covered it up. As far as the evidence shows, they absolutely did not do that. As far as I've read, and heard from around the community, they did everything right.... except the background check. I'm sure that's a mistake they'll NEVER make again.

Honestly, if they'd done the check, it still wouldn't come up with anything. We probably would still (unfortunately) have the exact same news story of a teacher abusing little girls.

Everyone who knows me knows that I'm a big SHA supporter. But how many of THEIR teachers aren't certified teachers? How many of their teachers are "highly qualified" according to state regulations? How many of their teachers have college level degrees in the field they're teaching? All? Most? Half? This isn't a Kollel problem, or a frummy problem. It's a day school problem and it's OUR problem as parents. Why don't we do something about it instead of wasting time on Larry and Rabbi Kletenik?

Only Emes

Just a Jew,

If you know so much about Rabbi Klitenick and his relationships with people in Seattle, how come you can't spell his name correctly?


Only Emes

P.S. Check out the wedding photos and see who walked the chosson down the aisle.

Robert J. Barron, Attorney at Law

@dh- ty for thinking of me, but I don't really need to be re-doing mine or anyone else's CV. I have no reluctance against stating my real name, and my profession on this blog, as you and everyone else can tell.

And I don't mind sharing what I know about criminal procedure (which is basically just the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments to the US Constitution) and some of my experiences as a criminal defense lawyer, and as I've stated previously, I used to practice in that area. (I may do so again in the future, but my practice has been concentrated in Immigration law for most of the last nine years)

That said, I don't mind contributing what I know about certain subjects, and hopefully advancing the discussion...and maybe providing a little civics education along the way.

Who knows? Perhaps someone will be inspired by what I write...apply to law school...get their law degree...and go on to do great things. LOL....but stranger things have happened in this crazy world of ours!

But in any event, I've got no need to "re-do" mine or anyone else's CV.

just a jew

only emes,
Firstly they weren't niskarev (if you want to use correct grammar)by rabbi klitenick, check your facts. Secondly as much as TDS relies on geirim and the kolel is notorious in making, unfortunately the kolel/tds kids don't know how to treat them nicely so they're fleeing.

Only Emes

Sorry, I had to step away for a bit. My, haven't we been busy?

One correction. Dr. Fineman's daughter and son-in-law are in back Baalei Teshuva but they were not m'karev by the kollel, they were m'karev by Rabbi Kletenik.

Anyway, speaking of baalei teshuva, it seems that they are hated here as well. So, we hate frummies, hareidim, kollel rabbis, and baalei teshuva. Whats left? Seattle has a lot of sephardim and geirim? How do we feel about those two groups?

So far, I can only identify one group we like here. People who like the Kleteniks.

Maybe there are more groups we like. Lets explore that.


Only Emes

local yokels

Perhaps failed messiah can do further investigation into the school itself. For example, it was founded by kollel members in a manner that caused tremendous machlokes within the community and damage to another day school in the south end neighborhood. This after the kollel administration had promised the locals that they would never open a competing day school. Locals are yokels, I guess, in the eyes of the big city kollel people.


It's funny because for years and years Larry would get up at board meetings with the big tayna against the Moirah Dasrah that he isn't friendly and warm with children like the previous rabbi. We see what type of "rabbis" he likes.


Lol, NU. I was thinking of introducing Robert J. Barron, Attorney at Law and Robert M. Fineman, Phd, MD. They could happily spend the rest of their lives together redoing each other's CVs. But now, remembering my days as a "B" cheerleader, I'm just too too sad.

Nigritude Ultramarine

@dh "The rest of the time, since you couldn't, you taught and sucked the grants dry, ending up in a community college and posting drivel on blogs."

Please, dean emeritus at a school at a community college. It's like being the Junior "Prom Prince" at the Junior/Senior Prom.


It appears that TDS did not do due diligence with a proper background check in this case. This brings the professionalism of the school into question. Then, to delve further into the issue, why does TDS exist? What is the main source of its funding? Why is it being funded? That brings up the Larry issue.


Shamyra, please take down "Just a Jew"'s post where he mentioned one of the alleged victims of the abuse. These are minors and no identifiers should be included.


I'm not at all sure what Rabbi Kletenik or Larry Russak have to do with Murray molesting little girls...? As far as I know, neither of THEM are pedophiles, so can we please stop talking about their "feud"? It's old news, boring, and irrelevant.

What IS relevant is that some people's thought process went from "tragic scenario with two little girls" to "serves that school right!" These girls are not a kapporah for the school. They don't deserve to have what happened to them used for political gain.

I agree that hiring someone with very little on-paper teaching experience is a pretty bad idea. Unfortunately, it's a practice that happens all over the Jewish world. We need to up the stakes for our kids. We're paying hard earned money for their education and getting "Rabbi" Murray's. Even if he HADN'T molested little girls, we should be outraged that people like him can get jobs teaching our kids.

Do some research about sex abuse. Pedophiles exist in every community. They exist in Reform communities, Modern Orthodox communities, or Kollel communities. This doesn't say ANYTHING about the kind of community it happened to. The only thing that is different in more frum communities is the tendancy to sweep things under the rug instead of confront the authorities. In this case, they dealt with this case BY THE BOOK.


Fineman, you're a dope. The only medicine you ever practiced is in your posted comment here. The rest of the time, since you couldn't, you taught and sucked the grants dry, ending up in a community college and posting drivel on blogs.

just a jew

Dr Fineman is a geneticist not a mental health professional Additionally his daughter and son in law is a russack cronie and kolel bt. Go figure.

Nigritude Ultramarine

@Robert Fineman "Recent scientific studies have shown that one in six adults suffers from a significant psychiatric impairment. [...] Nothing short of good psychiatric care can help them."

Ad hominem much?

Questions Robert needs to ask his nurse:

1. Why is my computer located in my living room and why do I have to share it with twenty people?

2. Why do people keep calling my living room "the dayroom"?

3. Is that a purple unicorn on the front lawn or did I take someone else's medication today?

Robert Fineman

Dear All,
Recent scientific studies have shown that one in six adults suffers from a significant psychiatric impairment. As a physician, professor, and Dean emeritus, it is readily obvious to me (along with the rest of you people of good will), that there are postings here from several people of ill will. Nothing short of good psychiatric care can help them. So, people of good will please don't even think you will be able to help these ill willed people by making additional posts here.

Peace out.

Just a Jew

Someone, which schism did SHA create in the community when it opened? When TDS opened did it cause and does it still cause a schism in the community?

Well when one of my kids complained of a non existent stomach ache, I probed and uncovered the real reason for his stomach ache (which wasn't anything sexual related) but yes I do question and probe and that is after a one time event.

BTW if not for the fact that the president of TDS is a BT who isn't aware of this frum brush things under the rug I am not sure it would have been handled the same. Ironically, the other "rabbis" in the school aren't happy with how the school handled it.

Additionally hiring a teacher without experience and no degree or Semicha and then having something bad come as a result of it, isn't Monday morning quarterbacking.

I am still trying to figure out why TDS opened there is a modern orthodox school and a chabad school, why the need for a third school?



Your karmic justice belies simple bias. SHA created a major schism in the community when it opened, and it has had its own incidents (plural) with employees of this kind over the years. Applying your logic, SHA should also be closed.

Simply ridiculous.

Also, with regard to your first two assertions, 1) People who perpetrate crimes like this don't do it because they think they won't be reported. They do it because they THINK THEY WILL NEVER GET CAUGHT. Even within the circles where these dirty little secrets get buried, and people decry how the perps are moved from place to place, the perps have to get moved because it's known to be a bad thing to do. They do it thinking they won't get caught. Who wants to have to move all the time? And regarding 2) you are unfairly applying hindsight. If your son said he didn't want to go to school (reason unspecified or indeterminate), would you think maybe he has a test that he isn't prepared for, or that he's getting sexually molested at school? These aren't clear warning signs until after a crime is uncovered. Then Monday Morning Quarterbacks like you say "told you so" even though you wouldn't possibly have done so in the same situation.

But I suppose if this platform-less logic gives you a place to stand to air your hatred toward Russack, I hope it's cathartic.

Just a Jew


Why are you overlooking the fact that 1. Mr Murray abused the principal's daughter assuming this was the type of school and Rabbi that wouldn't report it. 2. They initially didn't look into it when the students were complaining, until they told their parents.

Only Emes, Fineman, Jesse, don't ignore the karmic justice of a school looking for more rabbinical presence than SHA started by less frum people (russaks who all the women in the family wear pants and ridicule those women who cover their hair) than many of the parents of SHA and only started the school out of a personal vendetta against the Rivi Kletenick, who ends up having a bunch of girls molested by a teacher with no experience who isn't even a Rabbi.

The Seattle Kolel and TDS should be shut down for ripping a community in half and they have now caused a tremendous chillul hashem that wouldn't have happened if they didn't exist and yes I feel that the children are terrible victims.

Stop the madness you defenders, you all know the evil and loshon hara that you perpetuate.

Enough said.

Only Emes

I was unable to respond to the lies that preceded the lie about the Shavuot thing because I was too busy throwing up in the bathroom due to the nausea caused by the "poetic justice" line and the explanation of it that followed.


Only Emes


@ Only Emes: Interesting that you are not denying anything else that Sarah Stein mentioned in her posting, other than the lecture schedule for Shavuos night.

Nigritude Ultramarine

@Someonewhowishesyouwouldallshutup "Wow, really can't do any right according to you"

On the contrary, I thought I was being rather polite to a poster "who wishes [we] would all shut up" (très jolie).

Really, you should be proud of your school for doing the right ("goyishe") thing. Seriously, I wish I could say that my daughter's school would have done the same thing in similar circumstances. Her school is downright hostile to parents and teaches that it's a halacha to hate goyim. Unfortunately, this school is the typical school in the "frum" world.


@Nigritude: Wow, really can't do any right according to you

Nigritude Ultramarine

"[...] but this school barred the employee and informed CPS immediately upon disclosure by the children."

I hope the school doesn't lose it frum bonafides for such "goyishe" behavior.

Nigritude Ultramarine

"Please inform readers of your qualifications regarding this most excellent attribute."

Oh, I forgot. Doctors are used to being told that they are know-it-alls.

Robert Fineman

@Nigritude Ultramarine, re: "Yes, we must suppress the truth."

When did you become a "know-it-all" regarding "the truth?"

Please inform readers of your qualifications regarding this most excellent attribute.


First, the employee did have a clean record, so a background check would not have prevented his hiring.
Second, references were checked.
Third, the school actually did have knowledge of at least one other organization that had performed a concurrently-timed background check on the employee. Should they have done their own? Probably, but it's literally dotting an i. It's paperwork. There was nothing untoward through his entire first year in the school.

Finally, this site and the comments here lambaste Orthodox organizations for burying these dirty little secrets, but this school barred the employee and informed CPS immediately upon disclosure by the children.

You are grasping at straws out of hate and prejudice rather than assailing actions based on the facts. Hope you feel better for getting all that hate off your chest, but you're splashing in undeserved directions.

Only Emes

Sarah Stein:

Please call the shul and check your facts. The Rabbi and Rivy Kletenik informed the program director a few weeks ago that they would not be giving any classes on Shavuot night. That was their choice. Kind of an odd one since the Rabbi is still employed and being paid by the shul to be its Rav, but I guess he didn't feel he or his wife should do so this year for some reason.


Only Emes

Nigritude Ultramarine

@Robert Fineman "There is no anti-semite like a Jewish anti-semite."

Yes, we must suppress the truth.

Robert Fineman

If my father, may he RIP, had the opportunity to read the evil/malicious comments posted here, he would have repeated something he told me more than 60 years ago, i.e., "There is no anti-semite like a Jewish anti-semite." There is no doubt Jews wrote the evil/malicious comments posted here. If non-Jews had written them, there no doubt would be comments from Jews posted here saying the writers of the malicious comments are anti-semitic, Jew-haters. Shame on them!

Robert M. Fineman, MD, PhD

Nigritude Ultramarine

@Jeremiah "Aren't girls under 9 years of age legal for Talmudic Jews and the prophet Mohammed?"

Who, pray tell, are "Talmudic Jews"?

Your troll-fu is weak


Aren't girls under 9 years of age legal for Talmudic Jews and the prophet Mohammed?

Nigritude Ultramarine

@Rachel Greenberg "I really thought that religious institutions would have learned a lesson from the death of that poor child, Leiby Kletsky in Boro Park by a "frum" yid."

No, the "frummies" still have their head in the sand. They still believe that bad stuff doesn't happen in their world. Why, just the other day, the principal (the one who makes fake I.D. cards for kids) of one of the Bais Yaakov high schools in my city was bad mouthing the coed high school for having random drug testing. She maintains -- wrongly -- that there are no girls at her school who do drugs or other bad things.

I believe that if the "frummies" were to do "goyishe" things like background checks, it would be an admission that child molesters and real world problems exist within their cloistered walls.

It's kind of like "The Picture of Dorian Gray". The "frummies", having committed themselves to this public image of a blemishless and perfect society, find that they must reconcile themselves with the real portrait of themselves that they don't want anyone to see. The one that gets exposed bit by bit through news reports and blogs. This portrait, however, they can't keep ensconced in the attic.

Nigritude Ultramarine

@slow down "AND I re-iterate [sic], the man is innocent until proven guilty."

No, one only owns the presumption of innocence as a defendant in a court of law.

A presumption is not an assumption -- something that is assumed to be true. No one is required to believe that it is true that "Rabbi" Murray is innocent.

The arresting officer, by making the arrest warrants (a type of guarantee) against "Rabbi" Murray that there is a warrant (a link between the claims and the evidence) to prove an assertion. In other words, the arresting officer is swearing to the court that there is sufficient evidence against "Rabbi" Murray to prove his assertion against him.

Let's see. The cop with a background check vs. "Rabbi" Murray without a background check. Whom shall I believe? Hmmm.

I believe the cop.

Nigritude Ultramarine

@Sarah Stein "The frummies wanted their own school and didn't like the fact that a woman was head of school [...]"

A woman as the head of a school? Really? With no man in charge of her? Why, I bet she practices witchcraft.


He is innocent until proven guilty in the eyes of the law. In my eyes, he's guilty. I don't have to wait. And, guess what? I can still be on his jury. So, be quiet.

Rachel Greenberg

I really thought that religious institutions would have learned a lesson from the death of that poor child, Leiby Kletsky in Boro Park by a "frum" yid.

I am very disappointed and concerned as a Seattle parent that this lesson wasn't learned. I know it is natural to trust someone from the same culture and background. I completely understand and relate to that. But, after Leiby I think we've lost our innocence to an extent. For example, I know I am more careful about who I allow to stay in my home for shabbos. It has always been the norm to allow perfect strangers to stay for shabbos because they didn't really feel like perfect strangers but more like extended family. It is so unfortunate that we can't live like we once did. But, it's an unfortunate reality. And, all the schools, TDS included just have to be more careful. There's really no choice.

Rachel Greenberg
North End, Seattle


To Sarah Stein

It is an outrage to use the phrase "poetic justice" where allegations of sexual abuse against little children are involved.

To try and make this story about Larry Russak is wrong. Whatever the facts may be between the Kleteniks and Larry Russak are irrelevant and have nothing to do with this case.

To claim that this horrific case is divine intervention is equally outrageous and disgusting.

Let's remember that this is a case involving sexual abuse of small children. This is a case where the alleged abuser was in a position of trust, authority and power.

I commend the children for speaking up. It is fortunate that the appropriate adults brought this to the authorities rather than trying to deal with it internally.

slow down

"And it is well known in the cities he has lived before how he behaved towards children."

I now once again see how hateful some of the com mentors here are. He had no criminal background nor did he have any issues in MN.
Fran- you are full of garbage spewing false information. AND I re-iterate, the man is innocent until proven guilty. You all write how the leadership of this school are so incompetant and full of hatred, so why are you so quick to believe this?? Yes, the police are involved but need I remind you that the "leadership" of the school are the ones that have instigated the claims?

don corleone

Who paid his 100K bail?
Why was someone with no teaching skills and no credentials chosen to be a rabbi/teacher?

Minnesota girl

Please get the facts straight
The father runs a remodeling business and taught history at the local Bais Yaakov school. not at Torah Academy at least not recently


Dear Hashem,
Hi, it's me, dh. Can I be a trust fund baby? I promise to be really, really good. But I'm Jewish, so if you prefer I can be really, really bad.

Well, toodles for now, Hashem. Peace out, bro. Or sis.


Sarah Stein

While I feel very sorry for the girls and their parents, I feel it is poetic justice that this happened to TDS. They started this school out of hatred for Rabbi Kletenik. His wife Rivy runs the Seattle Hebrew Academy and does a very good job as head of school. Larry Russack aka the trust fund baby, could not tolerate the fact that Rivy was head of school because he HATES Rabbi Kletenik. The frummies wanted their own school and didn’t like the fact that a woman was head of school, so they started TDS. Seattle is a small community and cannot support three orthodox day schools. It is a terrible drain on the community. Chabad also has their own school.

Larry Russack hates Rabbi Kletenik because in 2001 right after 9/11 Larry got stuck in Vancouver before Shabbos. He chose to drive home Friday night rather than be inconvenienced. I understand that, but it is against Halacha. It was just before Rosh Hashana. Rabbi Kletenik correctly told Larry he was not allowed to blow shofer because he broke Shabbat. Larry has had a vendetta against R.Kletenik ever since. So far, Larry the trust fund baby, has managed to get the rabbi fired, will not even allow him to be called rabbi emeritus, and is even not allowing him to teach on Shavout night.

This is "min hashamim". This school was started out of sinat chinam and is therefore min haShamiym that this has happened to this school.

Again, I sincerely feel very bad for these girls and their families. I hope this guy is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.


CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story contained allegations that Murray was previously convicted of crimes outside Washington state. Those inaccurate allegation were wrongly included in charging papers. Murray has no criminal history.



Posted by: YonahLevi | May 12, 2013 at 05:08 PM

whether they would have found anything or not os not the point. The point is they did not do background check


You can bet that the local 'Yenta Gazette' aka "The American Jewish World" of Minneapolis will not publish this

Background Checks:

Are checked for any refinery job here in Texas. For a refinery with water access then a worker needs a more rigorous background check consisting of fingerprints and a Dept of Homeland Security check


The school is shoddy and was arrogantly thrown together by people who think they are more pious with street smarts and can just get things done as it suits them with no experience and now it is blowing up in their faces. It has been known for over a year that he has been putting little girls on his lap. For months a school employee has been told information by students and as a mandatory reporter it was her role to report this to CPS - I'll bet none of the teachers and employees are appropriately trained. And it is well known in the cities he has lived before how he behaved towards children. All of this compouded with no background check = gross negligence. We all know that whatever Larry builds lacks a firm foundation.

Yoel Mechanic

>There is not a single Hareidi yeshiva - for neither boys nor girls - which does fingerprinting or legal background checks on teachers or on any employee who comes in contact with children or minors.

Would you consider Beis Yaakov school to be "Chareidi"?

Nigritude Ultramarine

"1. An arrest proves nothing."

In my state (Illinois), job applications can't even ask if one has ever been arrested. Surprisingly (at least to me), 36 states allow arrests to factor in a decision to hire someone. However, I don't know how many of those states allow the prospective employer to ask the applicant if he has ever been arrested.

Still and all, when it comes to background checks, it's insane not to do them. Especially when one considers that one in eight people in the U.S. has a criminal record.

Robert J. Barron, Attorney at Law

mm is right. As all ya'll know, I used to do Criminal Defense, at the local, state and Federal level. That being the case----->

1. An arrest proves nothing. The only reason a person is arrested is that 1) a crime may have been committed- notice I said MAY- and 2) there is probable cause to believe that the arrested individual committed the crime.

2. That's the only thing an arrest proves.

3. Strictly speaking, the evidentiary gap between "probable cause" and "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" is oftentimes QUITE significant, and it's why a number of people who get busted for whatever-it-is never go to trial or do time. The evidence to convict simply is not there.

4. That's why this person is in fact, innocent until proven guilty. And as I have said here many times previously, if this matter does go to trial, his defense attorney does not have to prove he's innocent- he does not have to prove SODDI (Some other dude did it)...all he has to do is raise "reasonable doubt" that he committed the crimes with which he has been charged. If he raises that doubt, the jury will have to vote to acquit.

Lesson for today concluded!


Wait, you're asking why they didn't run a background check, yet then you're saying that they might not have found anything suspicious even if they had? What's wrong with you? You're grasping at straws that aren't there.

Also, 7-8 months isn't that short of a stint at a job. Especially if the job has no relevance to the one you're applying for (as in the case of Mr. Murray), it's not uncommon for the employer to ignore it.

Bas Melech

Abracadabra | May 12, 2013 at 03:48 PM

That's the way it is. It is the reason that abusers can be dismissed from one school and hired by another.


mm –

How do we know the school did not do a background check? Because the schools president admitted it. See the related post linked at the end of this post.

FM Fan

If you look at the resume, not only do you see short term employment, you don't see experience as a rebbe/teacher.

The only qualification he has is the color of his clothing.

The school hired him because there is no one except black hats (or Israelis) going in to Jewish education anymore.

The pickings are slim.

The talent is non-existent.

And the results are people who molest little girls on their lap.

The Torah Day School is a good and well meaning school run by caring parents and supporters.

But they had no choices and the only choice turned out to be a bad one.

They will attribute this to "one bad apple" when in fact it is the entire system that stinks.


There is not a single Hareidi yeshiva - for neither boys nor girls - which does fingerprinting or legal background checks on teachers or on any employee who comes in contact with children or minors. Why? Because they don't like doing things that way. They make their phone calls to find out if the person dresses in the appropriate Hareidi attire, attended schools and attend shuls of which they approve, and that the person in question looks, walks, and talks in a Hareidi manner. If the person served time in jail for financial crimes that is fine, as long as they don't eat treif, as long as they keep Shabbos, and as long as they are still Hareidi. That's the way it's been done since Moshe Rabbeinu gave the Torah on Har Sinai, and they are going to follow that Mesorah forever. They don't need "goyish" ways of doing things. Besides, after a pedophile does "teshuvah" he is "like new" and can then teach, council or work near children again (or so they claim). Teshuvah, it is claimed, erases all aveiros and they then will treat the pedophile like anyone else and allow the pedophile near kids again. If the Torah doesn't say to fingerprint, they don't have to. And if a government agency tries to force them to, they will fight and sue the government for getting involved in religious affairs.

And the leadership that promotes and advances all this are called "Gedolim."


how do u know they didnt ? BTW HE IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY!!!!!

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