Influential Right-Wing Anti-Porn Rabbi Arrested for Voyeurism

Rabbi Barry Freundel is an influential Orthodox rabbi based in the well-to-do Washington, D.C. neighborhood of Georgetown. His congregation of Kesher Israel includes prominent figures such as New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier, former Senator Joe Lieberman, and former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.


Freundel is an outspoken conservative who was fond of quoting religious texts to justify this past summer's Gaza war. He is also an avowed sexual conservative, saying in September that “the lack of sexual morality that pervades this society is all over the place, and the Orthodox community, no matter how traditional, is not immune from this, and it creates terrible problems. Pornography and its accessibility is wrecking marriages. It’s two keystrokes away. You get on the computer, you hit the button twice and you’re there. I have not counseled a couple in any level of relationship in the last five years where pornography hasn’t been an issue.”

That last bit is what makes his arrest for voyeurism all that more ironic. Washington Jewish Week reports:

Rabbi Barry Freundel of Kesher Israel Congregation in Georgetown was arrested Tuesday morning at his home in the 3000 block of O Street N.W. by Washington D.C. Metro Police. Freundel, 62, was charged with voyeurism, according to Officer Hugh Carew, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department.

Freundel, who was suspended without pay from the position he has held since 1989, was to have appeared in Superior Court of the District of Columbia on Wednesday. A member of Kesher Israel with intimate knowledge of the case against Freundel confirmed that the investigation centers around a camera or cameras placed in the mikvah, a Jewish ritual bath. The mikvah is located in a synagogue-owned building next door to the actual synagogue. The mikvah and the synagogue are separate legal entities, according to tax documents.

It should be noted that Freundel has been charged, not convicted. But if the allegations prove true, he would be far from the first self-righteous religious conservative to be outed as a hypocrite.

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