Almost all of this page was snagged from a now defunct page on TheAwarenessCenter.org.
Tendler Family History
Rav Moshe Feinstein
In the towering apartment complexes on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the second half of the twentieth century, lived hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Jews. Among them was a distinguished and elderly gentleman, diminutive in physical stature, but a giant in intellect. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein ZT"L became the leading halachic authority of his generation, and his p'sakim (halachic rulings) were accepted worldwide.
Rav Moshe was born in Uzdan, near Minsk, Belorussia, where his father was rabbi. He became rabbi of Luban, also near Minsk, as a single bochur. Later he married Shima Kustanovich in 1920, and he entrusted all material decisions to his lifelong partner. They had three children in Russia: Faye Gittel (who would marry a distinguished rav, Rav Moshe Schisgal Z"L in America), Shifra (who later would marry Rabbi Dr. Moshe David Tendler, Mora D'Asra of Community Synagogue in Monsey, as well as Magid Shiur and professor of biology at YU), David (who would succeed his father as Rosh Yeshivah of Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim), and one in America, Reuven (currently Rosh Yeshivah of the Staten Island branch of MTJ).
Rav Moshe remained in Luban until 1937, by which time the exit gates from Russia were locked shut. By a combination of hard work by the rav for several earlier years to obtain papers, plus some American political influence instigated by family already in this country, papers finally arrived, and he emigrated with his family to the United States.
Here he became Rosh HaYeshivah of Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim, that became world-famous because of his presence. Rav Moshe's halachic decisions have been published in a collection called Igros Moshe (The Letters of Moshe). An idea of his attitude regarding the rendering of halachic decisions can be gleaned from his introduction to the Igros: He writes that he feels suspended and torn between two verses cited by Rav Huna bar Abba in the name of Rav Huna " `She destroyed multitudes' This refers to a talmid chochom who did not reach the level to render decisions, who nevertheless renders halachic decisions. `And vast was the number of those she killed' This refers to a talmid chochom who has reached the level of rendering halachic decisions, but does not issue them. And all the more so for one such as myself who does not know sufficient Torah and wisdom, perhaps I should have refrained from rendering decisions and certainly from publishing them..."
But Rav Moshe writes that he came to the conclusion that if the talmid chochom invests all his effort and deliberates with all his mental energy, combined with fear of Heaven, he is not required by HaShem necessarily to arrive at the absolute truth, although he is helped by Heaven to accomplish that.
The following is a minute sample of the responsa that he wrote:
1. regarding the partial covering of the head when walking in the street or reciting a blessing
2. regarding the matter of the paralysis of the left hand in connection with Tefillin
3. regarding whether a kohen who desecrates the Sabbath publicly can bless the congregation with the other priests
4. regarding the mechitzah, the physical separation between men and women in a synagogue, and its required height
5. regarding a synagogue in which American and Israeli flags have been set up does this constitute a problem?
6. regarding establishing a partnership with a Jew who desecrates the Sabbath
Rav Moshe says that he is only providing his opinion with respect to the halachic questions raised, that he indicates all his sources, and that he welcomes and encourages all readers to check his sources and question his conclusions.
The selflessness and modesty of this Torah scholar only magnify his greatness. And the fear of Heaven that underlay all his thoughts shows how great a "gadol," a Torah giant, he was.
(AKA: Moses Tendler)
Rabbi - Community Synagogue of Monsey, NY
Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary
Chairman, Department of Biology, and Professor of Jewish Medical Ethics, Yeshiva University
Rav Tendler is the Rabbi Isaac and Bella Tendler Professor of Jewish Medical Ethics, and is a Professor of Biology, as well as being a Rosh Yeshiva in Yeshivat Rav Yitzchak Elchanan (MYP/RIETS).
Rabbi Tendler is the leading expert on medical ethics as it pertains to Jewish law. He is the author of Practical Medical Halakhah, a textbook of Jewish responsa to medical issues, and "Pardes Rimonim", a book about the halachot of Taharat Mishpacha.
Rabbi Tendler is the is currently Rabbi of a the Community Synagogue in Monsey, NY, and is the chairman of the Bioethical Commission, RCA, and of the Medical Ethics Task Force, UJA-Federation of Greater New York
Rabbi Moses Tendler
Dr. Moses D. Tendler, noted authority on medical ethics and the relationship of medicine and science to Jewish law, serves in a dual capacity as professor of biology at Yeshiva College and as a rosh yeshiva (professor of Talmud) at the University-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS).
A leading expert on Jewish medical ethics, Dr. Tendler holds the Rabbi Isaac and Bella Tendler Chair in Jewish Medical Ethics at Yeshiva University. The Chair named to honor the memory of his parents was established in 1986 by the late Joseph Applebaum, and his wife, Leila. Dr. Tendler was named was the chair's inaugural occupant in 1987, the first of its kind to be established at any university in the U.S.
Dr. Tendler received his B.A. degree from NYU in 1947, and a Master's degree there in 1950. He was ordained at RIETS in 1949, and following that, earned a Ph.D. in biology from Columbia in 1957.
Since 1969, he has served on the Medical Ethics Task Force of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, for which he edited Medical Ethics, a compendium of principles on morality, ethics and Halakhah (Jewish law). For nine years he served as its chairman. He is also chairman of the Bioethical Commission of the Rabbinical Council of America. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Good Samaritan Hospital, Suffern, NY and member of their Ethics Committee. Dr. Tendler was a founding member of the National Association of Bioethical Research in Reproduction, initially founded by the American College of Obstetrics/Gynecology, and a leading ethics think tank in the field of reproduction technology.
He was president and then chairman, from 1970 to 1974, of the Board of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists. Dr. Tendler has contributed many articles on science and religion to leading publications, and is frequently contacted by the media and public officials for information and advice on pertinent ethical issues.
Rabbi Dr. Moshe Tendler
A noted authority on medical ethics and the relationship of medicine and science to Jewish law, Rabbi Dr. Moshe Tendler is a Rosh Yeshiva at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and a professor of biology at Yeshiva College.
Widely quoted in the press on medical ethics, Rabbi Tendler is a leading expert on issues ranging from infertility to euthanasia.
Since 1965, Rabbi Tendler has served as of the spiritual leader of Community Synagogue of Monsey. A vibrant, growing congregation, the shul is known for its rich and diverse array of stimulating shiurim in Gemara, Halacha, Torah and Nach.
Rabbi Tendler, who has smicha from RIETS and earned a Ph.D. in biology from Columbia University, serves on the Medical Ethics Task Force of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies and is chairman of the
Bioethical Commission of the Rabbinical Council of America. Rabbi Tendler resides in Monsey with his wife, the former Sifra Feinstein, who is the daughter of renowned Halachist Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, zt"l.
They have eight children.
Rabbi Akiva Tendler (Brother of Aron and Mordecai Tendler)
Director of Beis Midrash Program
Rabbi Tendler studied in Beis Moshe of Scranton, PA as well as in the Mirrer Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Before joining Ohr Somayach, he worked as a student counselor and guide at Aish HaTorah and Ner Yaakov in Jerusalem. He holds a Doctorate of Jewish Law from Ner Israel Rabbinical College. Rabbi Tendler is the author of a number of highly acclaimed Rabbinical Responsa on contemporary halachic issues. He serves as the senior student counselor and liason and co-ordinates with each student his individual, short and long term learning goals. Besides his prodigious talents, Rabbi Tendler is also an internationaly recognized composer and musician. His latest CD, Simchas Libi, was released in Summer 2004.
North Hollywood, FL
Aviva Tendler - Rappaport (Sister of Aron Boruch and Mordecai Tendler)
Rabbi Hillel Tendler - Attorney (Brother of Aron Boruch and Mordecai Tendler)
Chairman of the Board - Torah Institute, Baltimore, MD
Board of Directors - Sinai Hospitial, Baltimore, MD
Yacov Tendler, MD (brother of Aron Boruch and Mordecai Tendler)
Faye Gittel and Moshe Schisgal's had twin daughters. Around 1983, the girls posed naked for Penthouse Magazine. This was unheard of for girls from an observant background, let alone from a famous rabbinic family.
The rabbi died at a tragically young age and arsonists burned the synagogue down.
Rabbi David Feinstein (Maternal Great-Uncle)
Succeed his father (Rav Moshe Feinstein) as Rosh Yeshivah of Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim
Maternal Great-Uncle of Aron Boruch Tendler and Mordecai Tendler
Rosh Yeshiva, Mesivta Tiferes Jerusalem, Staten Island, NY
Paternal Uncle / Brother of Rabbi Moshe Dovid Tendler
Dean - Ner Israel Mechina High School for Boys, Baltimore, MD
Son of Rabbi Yosef Tendler
(First Cousin of Mordecai Tendler and Aron Boruch Tendler)
Ner Israel Mechina High School for Boys - Baltimore, MD
Faculty, Ner Israel Rabbinical College, Baltimore, MD
Ma'alot Seminary - Baltimore, MD
Torah.org, Staff - Baltimore, MD
MyChasuna.com, Rabbinical Advisory Board - Baltimore, MD
Etz Chaim Center of Valley Village, Rabbi - Owings Mills, MD.
Blue Ribbon Kosher, Rabbinical Advisory Board- Minneapolis, MN
(AKA: Sholom Tendler)
Rosh Yeshiva - YULA (Yeshiva University High Schools of Los Angeles
Vice President - Rabbinical Council of California
Halachic Advisory Board - Jewish Family Services.
Rabbi Sholom Tendler , affectionately known as Rav Sholom, is a renowned educator and is widely recognized for his erudite and articulate presentations of the most complex areas of Jewish thought. He is Rabbi of Young Israel of North Beverly Hills, the West Coast Region's newest OU member synagogue. He has been the Rosh HaYeshiva of YOLA and YULA Boys' School for the past 24 years and is currently Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of California and founder of the Halachic Advisory Board of Jewish Family Services.
Battle for the Truth - Rabbi Mattis Weinberg fights Yeshiva University over charges of "inappropriate influence."
By Julie Gruenbaum Fax
The Jewish Journal - March 28, 2003
A prominent rabbi in Jerusalem's Old City, who was rumored to have sexually abused students at a California yeshiva 20 years ago, is fighting new innuendoes that he wields inappropriate influence over students at a Jerusalem yeshiva with which he is loosely affiliated.
Rabbi Mattis Weinberg, who founded Yeshivat Kerem in Santa Clara in the mid-1970s, counts as some of his strongest supporters - and detractors - former Kerem students and faculty members who now live in Los Angeles.
The Kerem scandal reemerged from a two-decade dormancy last month when Yeshiva University (YU) in New York severed ties with Yeshiva Derech Etz Chaim (DEC) in Jerusalem, a post-high school yeshiva for about 35 American boys founded five years ago by Weinberg's students and where Weinberg taught a class once a week. YU alleged that Weinberg has significant influence among faculty and students and that both past and present inappropriate behavior warrant caution.
Rabbi Yosef Blau, spiritual adviser to students at YU, said that one current DEC student has come forward with allegations of sexual abuse.
He said another five victims from Kerem are willing to go on record. Weinberg and his supporters have embarked on an aggressive campaign to clear his name, calling all the allegations - past and present - ludicrous.
The decades-old scandal has resurfaced in a climate of hypersensitivity to sexual misconduct in an Orthodox community where incidents of abuse and cover-up have been exposed in the last few years. Some question whether Weinberg's case indicates that institutions wary of being accused of complacency have confused caution with overzealousness, while others laud the newfound imperative to clear up past wrongs and prevent future ones.
Weinberg is incensed by the accusations.
"Because of their desire to appear holier-than-thou, they decided to embark on some type of witch hunt or McCarthyism," Weinberg said in a phone interview from Jerusalem. Weinberg and his supporters believe YU's reaction can be traced to the fallout from the scandal involving Rabbi Baruch Lanner, who is free pending an appeal after being sentenced last June to seven years in prison for sexually abusing two girls when he was principal of a New Jersey yeshiva in the 1990s. The Orthodox Union, which employed Lanner as a regional director of the National Council for Synagogue Youth, admitted in an internal report to playing a part in covering up Lanner's offenses in the youth group for 20 years - a notion that Weinberg's supporters say has sent the Modern Orthodox Yeshiva University over the edge in caution.
"We checked the history to our satisfaction and we were concerned that there might be a problem and we are not ready to have a relationship with a school and put our name on an institution where there might be something not healthy for student," Blau said.
Blau said that reports from current students raised some flags of concern, especially when taken in context of the Kerem scandal of 20 years ago.
He is confident that more victims - those who have already spoken with professionals and those who have yet to do so - will come forward soon. But so far, specifics are lacking.
The Commentator, YU's student paper, reported on one case where Weinberg took a student (not from DEC) to Safed for a weekend, and other cases of Weinberg using inappropriate sexual references in Torah lectures.
Weinberg called the accusations ludicrous. He says the student who went to Safed was a 20-year-old man who joined Weinberg - who has 10 children and many grandchildren - on a family trip, splitting the cost of the rental car. As to sexual content in his lectures, Weinberg said that both Bible and Talmud are full of such references, and he includes them where appropriate and necessary when he delivers his many lectures at yeshivot throughout Israel.
The vagueness of the accusations have angered and frustrated the administration at DEC, especially since they say DEC's ties to Weinberg are tenuous, and he holds no special influence over students.
"There is outrage amongst the present student population as well as their parents, alumni and alumni parents about the way YU has conducted itself toward DEC," said Rabbi Aharon Katz, dean of DEC. "YU has stated to us in conversations [as well as to others] that they have no allegations from students who have attended DEC."
DEC learned of the allegations only after the letter went out to parents. As soon as the yeshiva heard the accusations it suspended the weekly lecture Weinberg was delivering, pending an investigation, said Rabbi Sholom Strajcher, Katz's father-in-law and DEC president.
"What we want is to put it out on the table," said Strajcher, educational director of Yeshiva University of Los Angeles Boys High School (YULA). "Let's create a mechanism of impartial professionals to look at it so that we can feel that there has been a fair process," he said.
YU has alleged that Weinberg holds cult-like sway over his students.
Weinberg's supporters, several of whom contacted The Journal, say that kind of accusation stems from jealousy.
"What bothers people most about Rabbi Weinberg is that their Torah is garden variety as compared to his.... He is a brilliant thinker. He will not accept the usual approaches to Torah," said Rabbi Ari Hier, director of the Jewish Studies Institute at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who attended Kerem for seven years.
"As soon as you are outside of the box, immediately the Orthodox mediocrity has a problem with you," said Hier, son of Wiesenthal dean Rabbi Marvin Hier.
Kerem, which existed for seven years, employed some well-known rabbis in Los Angeles, including Rabbi Shalom Tendler, now rosh yeshiva at YULA; Rabbi Aron Tendler of Shaarei Tzedek Congregation; Rabbi Daniel Lapin, formerly of the Pacific Jewish Center in Venice; and Rabbi Eliezer Eidlitz, now director of development at Emek Hebrew Academy.
It is Eidlitz whom the Commentator quoted as supplying YU with the ammunition to attack Weinberg and DEC. Eidlitz refused to comment for The Jewish Journal.
In 1983, a year after Weinberg moved to Israel and soon before the school closed its doors, major backers of Kerem and faculty were vying for control of the institution, Weinberg said. Amid that atmosphere, rumors emerged that Weinberg had sexually abused some of the students. No charges were ever brought.
Rabbi Ari Guidry, a student at Kerem for seven years, who has taught at several day schools in Los Angeles and now produces Torah CDs, said he was the source of some of those rumors. But he says now he misrepresented appropriate hugs from Weinberg to impress wealthy and powerful backers who did not like Weinberg.
"There was never anything remotely sexually suggestive," Guidry said of his relationship with Weinberg.
But Blau of YU said there are more witnesses who are not speaking publicly about what happened at Kerem.
Also in question is how the original allegations were handled. Blau said that there is a letter signed by Weinberg and Rabbi Elya Svei, a leading rabbinic figure from Philadelphia, stating that Weinberg would not be involved in education.
"That is absolutely categorically insane," Weinberg said. "I would love for somebody to produce this document."
One local rabbi familiar with the situation said that the matter at Kerem was dealt with at a rabbinic assembly involving some of the most elite rabbis in the United States at the time, including the late Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg, Weinberg's father and rosh yeshiva of Ner Israel in Baltimore. Because of Weinberg's lineage - he is the grandson of the highly respected late Rabbi Yaakov Ruderman - Weinberg was quietly confined to a life without direct influence over students so that scandal would not touch this respected Torah family, this rabbi alleged.
"That never happened. It is absolutely, categorically, simply totally untrue," Weinberg said of such an assembly.
Weinberg said that all he is guilty of is possessing the overconfidence of a 29-year-old in charge of a school and loving his students. Kerem took in many students from broken homes, he said.
"I believe that when kids are shown, for the first time in their lives, support and concern and actual love, it makes all the difference to them," he said. "When subsequently these accusations were made and the kids were told that nobody loved you and cared about you and any sign of comfort was because it was giving somebody a sexual charge - that such a devastating thing to them," Weinberg said.
Weinberg said his supporters are in negotiations with YU, but if the situation is not resolved he will take legal action.
"If I had spent the years I spent being productive getting involved in such nonsense, I would not have given thousands of classes or published books. I would have become a bitter, small-minded person who worries about what other people think and about their lashon hara [gossip]," Weinberg said. "But I have been put into a position that if they continue this, it has to be stopped."
Blau said that YU stands by its actions, and that more information will soon emerge. Meanwhile, Blau said, the students must be protected.
"There is some level of suspicion and some level of risk, and that is enough to react," he said.