Jonathan Rosenblatt

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Jonathan Rosenblatt (August 31, 1956) is an American Rabbi, and the Senior Rabbi of the Riverdale Jewish Center.

A native of Baltimore, Rabbi Rosenblatt holds a BA and an MA from Johns Hopkins University in Comparative Literature and a PhD from Columbia University in the field of Modern British Literature. Rabbi Rosenblatt studied in Israel at Yeshivat Har Etzion and was ordained by the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University in 1982. He and his wife Tzipporah Twersky Rosenblatt have four children: Judah, Tonya, Samuel and Rivka.[1] Rabbi Rosenblatt is often invited to speak at clergy conferences on building spiritual values and a feeling of community in congregations.[2][3][4]

Rabbi Rosenblatt is known for his work in bridging the gaps that divide Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and secular Jews,[5][6] for actively supporting the Oslo peace process in the Middle East[7][8][9] In 2014, his brother-in-law, Moshe Twersky, was murdered by Palestinian terrorists in a synagogue in Jerusalem.[10]

He is widely quoted on topics of concern to the Jewish community.[11][12][13][14]

In May 2015 a report of inappropriate behavior was published in the New York Times.[15] Over a period of decades, Rabbi Rosenblatt was alleged to have created a fellowship with other males, some as young as twelve, in the "shvitz", or steam bath. These incidents are well documented and, according to the summary in the Times, "he took them, some as young as 12, to the gym to play squash or racquetball, then showered beside them and took them into the sauna, where — often naked, and with them often naked — he engaged the boys in searching conversations about their lives, problems and faith."

On June 2, 2015, it was reported that the Bronx County District Attorney Bureau on Child Abuse and Sex Crimes launched an investigation of the story and stories in the New York Times article about Rabbi Rosenblatt.[16]

On June 9, 2015, it was reported that the board of Rabbi Rosenblatt's employer, The Riverdale Jewish Center, "voted 34-8 to seek a financial settlement with the rabbi and for him to step down."[17] The decision was overridden by the chairman and president of the board, and Rosenblatt kept his position.


  1. ^ Pressman, Gabe (May 22, 2009). "Terror Foiled; Relieved Rabbi Calls Ray Kelly 'A Mensch'". Retrieved June 8, 2009. 
  2. ^ Wolfson, Ron (2006). The Spirituality of Welcoming. Jewish Lights Publishing. p. 33. ISBN 1-58023-244-2. 
  3. ^ Hoffman, Lawrence A. (2006). Rethinking Synagogues: A New Vocabulary for Congregational Life. Jewish Lights Publishing. p. 215. 
  4. ^ Schwarz, Sidney (2000). Finding a spiritual home: how a new generation of Jews can transform the American synagogue. Jossey-Bass. p. 106. 
  5. ^ Weiss, Steven I. (September 12, 2003). "Rabbis’ Confab To Bridge Denominations". The Forward. Retrieved June 8, 2009. 
  6. ^ Freedman, Samuel G. (May 30, 2009). "Two Rabbis Find They’re Separated Only by Doctrine". The New York Times. Retrieved June 8, 2009. To those suspects, described by law enforcement officials as jailhouse converts to Islam and jihadi wannabes, the distinctions between Reform and Orthodox were either irrelevant or invisible. 
  7. ^ "US rabbis lobby for aid to Palestinians". Jerusalem Post. July 14, 1995. 
  8. ^ Pro-peace rabbis lobby lawmakers to stay involved, Jewish Telegraphic Agency , July 16, 1995
  9. ^ Economic development and U.S. assistance in Gaza/Jericho: hearing before the Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, July 13, 1995, United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations. Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, U.S. G.P.O., 1995, p. 26
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ Malcolm and the Cross: The Nation of Islam, Malcolm X, and Christianity, Louis A. DeCaro, NYU Press, 1998, p. 5
  12. ^ Stretching Halacha to the limit, Haim Shapiro, Oct 6, 1999, Jerusalem Post
  13. ^ A Catholic convert's exodus, Mati Wagner, 03-31-2005 , Jerusalem Post
  14. ^ Singer, Melissa (Feb 15, 2007). "Six million ways to deter Iranian threat". Australian Jewish News. Retrieved June 8, 2009. [dead link]
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