Appellate Court Unanimously Rules in Favor of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler

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A New York appellate court unanimously reversed a lower court and ruled that a New Hempstead, NY synagogue breached its contract with its rabbi when it fired him without adhering to the terms of the contract and attempted to justify its action by later obtaining a unilateral ruling from a purported "rabbinical court."

In the long awaited decision, The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court ruled in a decision dated June 3, 2008 that the Kehillat New Hempstead breached the contract of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler when they terminated him in February, 2006.

The court stated: (http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2008/2008_05067.htm)
"In May 1992 the plaintiff entered into a contract with the defendant...The Parties' contract expressly provided that the Congregation could not terminate the plaintiff's employment as its rabbi "unless" it had obtained prior authorization from a rabbinical court...While implicitly conceding that it terminated the plaintiff as its Rabbi sometime before February 27, 2006, the Congregation contends that it obtained the required rabbinical court ruling authorizing such action. However, the rabbinical court ruling upon the Congregation relies is dated March 21, 2006...Accordingly, the plaintiff established, as a matter of law, that the Congregation breached the contract."

Rabbi Tendler argued that reliance upon a document purporting to be a Rabbinical Court decision authored by Benzion Wosner, of Monsey, New York was untenable inasmuch as it was dated after his termination. Rabbi Tendler was not involved in any such proceeding at any time. In fact, he was never advised of the existence of Wosner's so called "rabbinical court" action until it surfaced in the litigation as an apparent pretext for his termination.

Wosner, an Israeli immigrant, living in Monsey, New York, has been involved in several controversial actions regarding the Eruvs in Flatbush and Washington Heights, New York. (http://www.flatbusheruv.org/hech_page.htm) He also provides Kashrus certification in Monsey New York (http://www.kashrusmagazine.com/ksg/nyc/nyc_metro.htm).

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Grey Woodsted

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