Cantor guilty of brothel charges


CHICAGO, March 20 (JTA) — A Chicago-area cantor and his wife have pleaded guilty to charges of involvement in a prostitution ring.

G. Joel Gordon and Alison Ginsberg each received six months of court supervision and a fine of $200 for the crime after their pleas on Tuesday.

Gordon resigned from the Conservative movement’s Cantors Assembly after he was arrested last November.

A 10-week undercover investigation last year focused on three Chicago-area apartments used by employees of Golden Touch Massage.

Investigator Robert Fitzgerald said he is particularly gratified by the guilty pleas because the prostitution ring operated in neighborhoods with many young children.

Two members of Gordon’s last congregation attended Tuesday’s court proceedings.

“In the time I was a member of his temple and shortly afterward, I came to see the many sides of Joel Gordon, from a man who could engage in vicious shouting to one who was sanctimonious and insidious,” said one former congregant, lawyer Sam Bell. “Previously, all I’d seen was what appeared to pass for compassion and support during bereavement, for example, which I now feel was just self-serving on his part.”

Gordon previously served as a cantor in other Chicago-area congregations, as well as in New Jersey and Atlanta.

Officials at Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple, in New Brunswick, N.J., where Gordon once worked, refused to comment.

At Temple Sinai in Atlanta, Rabbi Phil Kranz said of Gordon, “We knew there was a problem. He was given a few hours to pack and be out and he left in the dark of night.”

Gordon later served at Temple Chai in Long Grove, Ill., where his contract was not renewed.

Most recently, Gordon served Congregation Shirat Emet, in the Chicago suburb of Buffalo Grove, Ill., before it disbanded in mid-2000.

When Gordon was asked if he had any plans to serve as a cantor in the future, his attorney, Robert DeMeo, said Gordon had no comment.

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