‘Sauna rabbi’ not working at health center, office says

(JTA) — A suburban New York health center is denying reports that Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt, the New York spiritual leader who resigned from his pulpit after coming under fire for having naked sauna chats with boys and young men in his congregation, is working there as a counselor.

The Forward reported Monday that Rosenblatt was providing spiritual and psychological counseling at Scarsdale Integrative Medicine in Westchester County, citing his page on the health center’s website.

On Thursday, however, the Forward quoted an administrator at the center who said he was not working there.

“He was never with us,” Su Y. Heo said. “He was subleasing a place so he can see his own patients. He did it for a month, but he is no longer subleasing with us.”

Rosenblatt’s lawyer, Meyer Koplow, also told the Forward in an email that the rabbi “is not currently working.” Koplow told the Riverdale Press in June that one of the doctors at Scarsdale Integrative Medicine knew Rosenblatt through his work at a hospice and invited him to work there doing counseling.

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Rosenblatt was listed as providing “spiritual and psychological counseling,” but the page has since been taken down.

The rabbi garnered headlines in 2015 after The New York Times reported on his practice of playing racquetball and visiting the showers and sauna with boys and young men from the Riverdale Jewish Center, as well as with college students and rabbinical interns. At various times preceding the article’s publication, Rosenblatt was told by rabbinic bodies or his congregation’s board to limit such activity.

Rosenblatt announced his resignation as the congregation’s senior rabbi in February.