Uniformed police officers and plainclothes detectives swarmed the Georgetown home of Rabbi Barry Freundel, the senior rabbi at Washington, DC’s Kesher Israel synagogue, this morning. Freundel was reportedly taken away in handcuffs by the Metropolitan Police, who also took computers and other items from the residence.
Above: Rabbi Barry Freundel
Last updated at 5:30 pm CDT
Leading Modern Orthodox Rabbi Arrested
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Uniformed police officers and plainclothes detectives swarmed the Georgetown home of Rabbi Barry Freundel, the senior rabbi at Washington, DC’s Kesher Israel Synagogue, at approximately 8:30 am today, the Washingtonian reported. Freundel was reportedly taken away in handcuffs by the Metropolitan Police, who also took computers and other items from the residence.
Freundel is a vice president of the Vaad Harabanim of Greater Washington (Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington), which describes itself as, "The only organization of Orthodox Rabbis in the Metropolitan Washington area that is responsible for kashrut supervision.…Maintains a Beth Din which deals with matters affecting Jewish Family Status, i.e. adoption in accordance with Jewish law, marriage, and divorce as well as with the adjudication and/or arbitration of financial disputes, and provides all services essential to the traditional Jewish community. Maintains the city-wide Chevrah Kadisha (provides services essential for the deceased)."
Freundel is also a member of the executive committe of the Rabbinical Council of America and served as the rabbinic organization's point man on conversions to Judaism.
Police confirmed the criminal investigation against Freundel and the arrest, but told the Washingtonian the warrant was sealed.
However, multiple DC news sources are now reporting that Freundel allegedly placed a hidden camera and recorder disguised as a clock radio inside the women's mikva (ritual bath) of his synagogue in the changing-preparation area.
Kesher Israel’s members include Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, former senator Joe Lieberman and many other influential DC residents. influential members.
The Washington Post reported at 1:25 pm CDT that Freundel has been charged with voyeurism. (However, it is possible that is only an initial charge and that more charges may be added once Freundel's computers are forensically examined.)
Freundel is the author of two books, Contemporary Orthodox Judaism's Response to Modernity (Ktav and Why We Pray What We Pray: The Remarkable History of Jewish Prayer (Urim Publishers).