Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2006 22:52:16 EST
Subject: Case of Rabbi Aron Tendler (Los Angeles, CA)
Case of Rabbi Aron Tendler (Los Angeles, CA)
Many of you may or may not know that over the last several years there
have been serious allegations of professional sexual misconduct
(with minors) made that Rabbi Aron Tendler of North Hollywood, CA.
Earlier tonight I was informed that Rabbi Aron Tendler was offered the opportunity to resign from his position as rabbi at Shaarey Zedek Congregation, instead of being fired. He chose to resign.
If you or anyone you know has been abused by Rabbi Aron Tendler, and
need resources please do not hesitate to contact The Awareness Center, Inc.
or your local rape crisis center.
The Awareness Center, Inc.
Rabbi Aron Tendler, Brother of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler
He served as teacher, Assistant Principal, and Principal at the (girls)
Yeshiva University of Los Angeles High School.
Rabbi Aron Tendler was replaced as principal of the girls YULA circa
1990 after reports that he molested teenage girls. The principal of secular
studies at YULA at the time, Dr. Bruce Powell, was adament that Aron had to go.
Instead of calling him "Rav Aron," his students was at YULA, behind
his back, called him "Rub Aron."
Rabbi Aron Tendler has told people, including women he was intimate
with, that he was molested as a boy.
"We were at an all-girls school," says a former student. "Our hormones
were going nuts. And Aron Tendler was there. He was flirty. He had two or
three buttons of his shirt unbuttoned, walking up and down the hallway. He
provoked it. Kids bored in school were flirting with him. I can't say he touched
people unwillingly. I think they did it and then afterwards asked, ohmigod,
what happened?"He wasn't someone who was going to force himself him on you. Years
laterthe girls woke up later and said, this was wrong.
"Before he'd have an affair, he'd discuss the halacha [Jewish law]
"Whenever it gets down to it, Aron gets afraid and removes himself. I
heard he removed himself from the RCC. I'm surprised he isn't resigning from
Sharei Tzedek. He has to be crazy to want this all to go public.
"He was very careful in the girls that he picked. He always picked
girls who came from troubled homes, so that if we went public, he could say that
"I don't judge anyone, but when you stand on a podium and portray
yourself as better than everyone else, and you say that we're crazy, that's the
issue I have. He's living a double life. He's been cheating on his wife for 20
years."When you're in the Jewish world and you look at Aron Tendler, you
might think he's sexy, but when you're in the outside secular world, and you
look at him again, it's like night and day.
"Aron told one of the girls that he had had an affair while his wife
Esther was pregnant and she miscarried, and he always felt it was punishment
for cheating on her.
"He told me stories about a woman in Beverly Hills and when her
husband was away, he would go over to her house and they would just lie in bed
naked together. He was all into the halacha against spilling your seed.
"He shouldn't be running a shul. If two adults want to have an affair,
then have an affair. It's morally incorrect but not worth tattling about.
"[For several years after highschool], I couldn't be at an event where
he didn't approach me. There could be 500 people in the room. He would
make it straight to me and ask me if I wanted to go outside and talk. I
thought, aren't people wondering what we're talking about?
I realized he was telling people I had problems and I needed to talk to him. But really, he was flirting with me. "When he'd walk away, he'd be standing with some single guy and they'd be looking back at me and laughing. I remember saying to him once, 'Were you talking against me?' I was so naive. I thought, he's not going to talk lashon hara [evil speech]. He's a rabbi. I must be imagining it.
"Then [fellow student and friend] would tell me things he would tell
her about me, and he would tell me things about her, so finally I realized
he was talking against me. When I'd bring this up to him, he'd say, 'You know
I love you.'
"SSS was much more damaged by him than me. She confronted him
recently. He said to her, 'I'd talk to you about it but I'm still sick.' He admits
it."If I was him, I'd say, 'I need help.' Play the victim. Just stop
telling people that we're crazy and lying. That just forces people to tell
"The Sharei Tzedek board was told two years ago these stories and all
they did was blame the women.
"A letter was written to his wife Esther two years ago with
everybody's story in it. Esther got it and almost had a heart attack.
"The wife had to know that what was in the letter was true because it
was filled with intimate details about their marriage that he had told all
Even a girl who stayed in their house and the situation she had with
There's been a lukewarm investigation of Rabbi Aron Tendler by the RCC
(Rabbinical Council of California) for charges that he sexually
molesting under-age teenage girls, many of whom were under his rabbinic authority (either at YULA, NCSY or elsewhere). The stories about his behavior have gone on
for years. Every major Orthodox rabbi knows about the complaints against Rabbi
Aron Tendler, including Rabbi Best, Rabbi Nahum Sauer, Rabbi Fassman, Rabbi
Avraham Union, yet Rabbi Aron Tendler maintains his pulpit.
Now women in their 30s (and some younger) who say they were molested
by rabbi Tendler in their teens are coming forward.
No civil lawsuit has been filed against Aron Tendler in this matter
(due to its nature, the women who say that Rabbi Aron Tendler molested them
don't want to go public as most of them have familes of their own, and communities
tend to rally around their leaders and stigmatize those who accuse the
leaders of sexual misconduct).
Aron is popular with his peers who are loathe to discipline him. Aron
is a "nice guy." He's "humble."
The offer of resignation is something every school or shul should do to avoid a prolonged ugly battle.
Aron had the decency to resign, something his brother should have done a long time ago.
My heart goes out to Rabbi Moshe Tendler and his family.
Aron Tendler's letter of resignation
"It is with mixed emotions that I write you today to let you know of my decision that, after 22 wonderful years, I have decided to step down as rabbi of Shaarey Zedek," Tendler wrote in a letter to the 400-member families of the Orthodox synagogue.
"This has been a decision I have contemplated for some time, and after great soul searching and deliberation and with the full support of Esther and the family, I decided that it was time to explore other opportunities and embark on a new aspect of my personal and professional life."
Tendler wrote that he intends to stay in the community but wants to spend more time with his family and pursuing writing, teaching and other projects.
"On occasion, I would like to sleep for more than four hours. Selfishly put, I want more time, and if not now when?" he wrote. Tendler will stay on through the High Holidays and help the search committee in its quest to find a new rabbi.
"Rabbi Tendler turned innumerable lives around, and it will be a great loss for us," Brad Turell, Shaarey Zedek’s communications director, told The Journal. "He’s very talented and we wish him the best."