(September 14, 2018 / JNS) Michael Steinhardt, one of Hillel International’s biggest donors, made inappropriate sexual remarks to a female employee of the organization, according to The Jewish Week. As a result, Hillel has launched an investigation, as a second female employee stepped forward to accuse Steinhardt.
The initial complaint was filed in 2015, when the organization began a protocol where no female employee would interact with Steinhardt alone.
With the ongoing internal probe, Hillel quietly removed Steinhardt’s name several weeks ago from the board of governors list on its website.
“I can confirm that my client did raise concerns regarding Michael Steinhardt to Hillel, and that she is cooperating fully with Hillel’s investigation,” Debra Katz, a Washington attorney specializing in these types of claims, wrote to The Jewish Week via email.
In a follow-up email, she said: “My client is not in a position to comment at this time given Hillel’s ongoing investigation.”
Steinhardt, a former hedge-fund manager whose net worth is $1.1 billion, told the publication that Hillel has not notified him of the investigation, although his daughter, Sarah Bloom, vice chair of the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, and Rabbi David Gedzelman, president and CEO of the foundation, have been notified of the probe by Hillel.
Hillel has also informed the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life that it is not soliciting the foundation’s annual $50,000 grant this year to support Hillel’s Springboard Fellowship, according to sources within Hillel. The Fellowship is a national project that places recent college graduates at Hillel campuses nationwide.