Rabbi Freundel Fired by His D.C. Synagogue in Wake of Peeping Allegations

Rabbi, who has pleaded not guilty to six counts of voyeurism, must vacate his synagogue-owned residence by January 1.

Entrance to Rabbi Barry Freundel's Kesher Israel Congregation.
Entrance to Rabbi Barry Freundel's Kesher Israel Congregation.Credit: Screenshot

The board of Rabbi Barry Freundel’s Washington synagogue, Kesher Israel, fired the rabbi and said he must vacate his residence by January 1.

Freundel had been on suspension without pay since his October 14 arrest on voyeurism charges for allegedly installing secret cameras in the shower room of the mikvah adjacent to the Orthodox shul. Freundel’s residence is owned by the synagogue.

The synagogue board made its decision last week and announced it to the community in an email sent Sunday and in a notice posted on the synagogue website.

“The decision by the Board of Directors was made under extraordinarily difficult and unfortunate circumstances,” the board said in its announcement. “The alleged acts leading to this step were a gross violation of law, privacy, halakha, and trust. They breached the high moral and ethical standards we set for ourselves and for our leadership.”

The ritual bath, known as the National Capital Mikvah, has been scrutinized to make sure no other hidden devices remained. Last week, Freundel also was formally terminated as the mikvah’s supervising rabbi.

Freundel also has been suspended without pay from his position as associate professor at Towson University in suburban Baltimore, where he taught in the philosophy and religious studies department. The rabbi apparently took students on field trips to his synagogue and the mikveh, and university officials said last month they were concerned that some students may have been secretly videotaped during the visits in varying states of undress.

The next court date for Freundel, who has pleaded not guilty to six counts of voyeurism, a misdemeanor crime, is January 16. Misdemeanor charges in Washington carry maximum sentences of 12 months. In theory, if found guilty Freundel could be sentenced to six successive yearlong terms.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


נתניהו עם כיפה שחורה על הראש נשען בשתי ידיו על הכותל

Israel Is Heading for Its Most 'Jewish' Election Ever

An El Al jet sits on the tarmac at John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Thursday, in 2003.

El Al to Stop Flying to Toronto, Warsaw and Brussels

FILE PHOTO: A Star of David hangs from a fence outside the dormant landmark Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood in 2021.

American Judaism Is in Decline. That's Great News for American Jews

Crowds at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, in April.

U.S. Official: West Bank Entry for Palestinian Americans Unrelated to Israeli Visa Waivers

Haaretz spoke with several people who said they had fled Ukraine, arrived in Israel,  and were asked to undergo DNA tests in order to establish paternity.

'My Jewish Grandmother Has a Number on Her Arm, Why Does Israel Greet Me This Way?'

People taking part in the annual "March of the Living" to commemorate the Holocaust, between the former death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, four years ago.

It’s Not Just the Holocaust. Israel Is Failing to Teach the History of the Jews