“Despite the board’s vote, the vast majority of the membership have expressed overwhelming support for the rabbi and have been openly critical of those few who elected to speak publicly about an issue the congregation has been aware of for more than 20 years,” Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt's attorney, Ben Brafman, reportedly said in a statement.
The New York Times reports:
The prominent rabbi of a Bronx synagogue who has been the focus of attention for having taken boys and young men to the sauna naked is negotiating a buyout and expects to reach an agreement to step down “in the near future,” his lawyer said on Thursday.
[Actually, the rabbi, Jonathan Rosenblatt, allegedly invited these boys, some as young as 12-years-old, on an individual basis to play squash with him. After the squash game, Rosenblatt would allegedly encourage the boy to shower with him for a prolonged period of time and then sit with him in a sauna for another prolonged period of time, with both Rosenblatt and the boy completely naked. During these showers and sauna sessions, Rosenblatt allegedly ogled the boys. When he was confronted about this by his synagogue's leadership and then the Rabbinical Council of America and others, Rosenblatt agreed to stop taking young boys for these squash and sauna sessions. If Rosenblatt fully complied with that promise is debated, but it even he admits that after making it he turned to inviting young men, many of whom were students at Yeshiva University, for similar squash and sauna sessions. Those sessions also reportedly included ogling. – FailedMessiah.com]
…Rosenblatt[,] of the Riverdale Jewish Center, anticipates a “very fair” settlement that recognizes his 30 years as the leader of the 700-member Modern Orthodox synagogue, his lawyer Benjamin Brafman said in a statement.
The synagogue board told congregation members on Tuesday that it had voted to try to “achieve an amicable resolution with Rabbi Rosenblatt.”
Rabbi Rosenblatt, 58, has three years left on his contract, Mr. Brafman said. He and synagogue officials declined to say how much the rabbi’s salary is.…
The synagogue board’s vote on Monday to begin negotiating Rabbi Rosenblatt’s departure was 34 to 8, according to The Jewish Week.
“Despite the board’s vote,” Mr. Brafman said in a statement, “the vast majority of the membership have expressed overwhelming support for the rabbi and have been openly critical of those few who elected to speak publicly about an issue the congregation has been aware of for more than 20 years.”
One longtime synagogue member said Rabbi Rosenblatt’s departure would allow the synagogue to move forward.
“It is a sad moment,” said the member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions in the community, “but it’s also clear that with everything that has come out in the last few weeks, it’s almost impossible to see the rabbi continuing in his current role.”
There are no known allegations of any physical sexual abuse by Rosenblatt, but the Brox District Attorney is reportedly investigating Rosenblatt's conduct. Ben Brafman, who is himself Orthodox, is one of the top criminal defense attorneys in America.