Post-scandal, rabbi finds new job in Scarsdale


Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt, who stepped down earlier this year as the leader of the Riverdale Jewish Center amid scrutiny of his naked sauna chats with young boys, has found new work, providing mental health services in Scarsdale. 

Scarsdale Integrative Medicine has approached Rabbi Rosenblatt to offer him a job in pastoral and spiritual counseling, Rabbi Rosenblatt’s lawyer said. 

“Rabbi Rosenblatt, over the years, did a lot of work at various hospices,” said the attorney, Meyer Koplow. “At one of the hospices where he worked, he did a lot of work with one of the doctors in [Scarsdale Integrative Medicine]. When that doctor became aware that the rabbi was free of his responsibilities at the RJC, he reached out to the rabbi to ask whether he would be interested in doing counseling in this group practice he has.”

Rabbi Rosenblatt announced his resignation from RJC in February, after reports of his naked sauna chats sent ripples through the congregation. The Bronx district attorney found no evidence of criminal activity, but some at RJC argued the rabbi’s actions were inappropriate.

Mr. Koplow said Rabbi Rosenblatt’s reputation for pastoral counseling also played a role in his being offered the job. 

Sura Jeselsohn, who recorded complaints against Rabbi Rosenblatt during the 1980s, when many of the sauna chats took place, said she was appalled to hear that the rabbi had found a new position in mental health.

“If he were planning to be an accountant or a bookkeeper, I wouldn’t have a comment,” she said. “He is doing the same sorts of things that got him into these sticky situations.”

According to Mr. Koplow, all ordained clergy members are also certified to offer spiritual counseling, and Scarsdale Integrative Medicine was aware of the controversy surrounding Rabbi Rosenblatt. The clinic did not respond to requests for comment for this article. 

“It’s generally well-known that the rabbi has developed a reputation over the years for what some people call extraordinary pastoral skills and helping people through difficult situations,” Mr. Koplow said. “He has decided to focus his efforts going forward on being able to continue that aspect of his work.”

Ms. Jeselsohn expressed her displeasure with the clinic that hired Rabbi Rosenblatt. She said she had called the institution several times, urging Scarsdale Integrative Medicine to reconsider the job offer.

“I don’t know who this company is, but I’m sure they’re not putting out copies of the New York Times articles,” she said. The New York Times first reported the story about the rabbi’s sauna chats last year.