Fallen Leaders Gallery 8

Fallen Leaders Gallery 8


Rabbi Fred Neulander of Reform Congregation M'kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, N.J., was convicted of hiring hit men to murder his wife.

Offense: Neulander was charged with hiring two men, Len Jenoff and Paul Daniels, to murder his wife, Carol, in 1994, so that he could be with Elaine Soncini, a Philadelphia radio show host. Neulander, who continues to proclaim his innocence, admitted to having affairs with two of his congregants, including Soncini.

Consequence/Punishment: Found guilty in 2002, he was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison. At his sentencing, the judge said the murder "should send shivers down the spine of any civilized person."

Effect on Community: The congregation, which had looked to Neulander as its beloved spiritual leader, suffered for years, enduring a long process of grief and eventual acceptance of the rabbi's guilt. The synagogue's young assistant rabbi, Gary Mazo, who assumed the task of leading the congregation, wrote a book about the ordeal, "And the Flames Did Not Consume Us."

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