Shalom Life | October 17, 2014

D.C. Rabbi Arrested for Secretly Filming Women Bathing

Barry Freundel, 62, has been charged with voyeurism

By: Daniel Koren

Published: October 15th, 2014 in News » World

Photo Caption: Rabbi Barry Freundel

Photo Credit: YouTube Screenshot


A prominent Washington D.C. rabbi, Barry Freundel, has disgraced his family and his community after being arrested for voyeurism, suspected of installing secret cameras at his synagogue, Kesher Israel in Georgetown, that filmed women in the mikveh, a ritual bath used in Orthodox Judaism.

The 62-year-old Freundel has served as the rabbi at Kesher Israel since 1987, a congregation that includes former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman Treasury Secretary Jack Lew among its longstanding members. Freundel is also on the executive council of centrist Orthodoxy's Rabbinical Council of America and has served as as consultant to the ethics review board of the National Institute of Aging at the National Institutes of Health.

Freundel was arrested at his Georgetown home Tuesday and taken away in handcuffs after complaints were made that he was filming the women who bathed at the synagogue.

Apparently, a woman saw Freundel setting up a clock radio that also contained a hidden camera inside. Freundel assured her, according to WTTG-TV, that the device would help ventilate the room.

Police spent hours investigating, witnesses told WTTG-TV, and left the residence with computers, hard drives and other such info that could incriminate the rabbi.

The rabbi will be held overnight, and is expected to appear in court on Wednesday.

Kesher Israel called the arrest a "painful moment" for their congregation, announcing that the rabbi has been suspended without pay. The congregation's board of directors released a statement Tuesday that said they were the first to learn of the rabbi's "potentially inappropriate activity" and "quickly alerted the appropriate officials."

“Throughout the investigation, we cooperated fully with law enforcement and will continue to do so,” the statement reads.

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