Rabbi Marc Schneier, the spiritual leader of a tony congregation in the Hamptons, has been expelled from the Rabbinical Council of America, the Forward has learned.
The five times married Schneier was quietly expelled from the Orthodox rabbinical group earlier this year in relation to allegations, in 2010, that he had an extramarital affair with a congregant, according to a source with first-hand knowledge of the expulsion who did not wish to be named.
The RCA, Modern Orthodoxy’s largest rabbinic association, did not deny it had taken the highly unusually step of expelling Schneier…
Reached by phone on June 5, Schneier said that the RCA never informed him that he has been expelled. He said that the idea he has been expelled is “crazy.”
“I’m not the kind of person to deny something if it took place,” Schneier said.
Schneier is founding rabbi of The Hampton Synagogue, in Westhampton Beach, N.Y., which attracts some of New York’s wealthiest residents.
He is also renowned as leader of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, an interfaith group he founded along with Def Jam Recordings founder Russell Simmons.
Schneier became the focus of tabloid stories in 2010 after it emerged that he was having an extramarital affair with Gitty Leiner, a member of his Westhampton congregation.
The affair was exposed in divorce papers filed by Schneier’s then fourth wife Tobi Rubinstein Schneier.
The Riverdale Jewish Center reportedly is seeking to get rid of Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt, whose habit of inviting young males to join him for naked heart-to-heart talks in the sauna was the subject of a recent article in The New York Times.
In a meeting Monday night, the board of directors of Rosenblatt’s Orthodox synagogue voted 34-8 to seek a financial settlement to get Rosenblatt to resign his pulpit position, the N.Y. Jewish Week reported. Though Rosenblatt’s unusual behavior long was known in his synagogue community, the board surmised that the publicity that now surrounds Rosenblatt would make it impossible for him to fulfill his rabbinic duties at the 700-member shul and therefore it is preferable that he step down, the newspaper reported.
The Times story that prompted the firestorm focused on Rosenblatt’s custom of inviting male congregants or students, some as young as 12, to play squash or racquetball, then join him in the public shower and sauna or steam room, often naked. No one cited in the story accused Rosenblatt of sexual touching, but several expressed their discomfort with the practice and described the behavior as deeply inappropriate for a rabbi and mentor. At various times, Rosenblatt was told by rabbinic bodies or his congregation’s board to limit such activity.