A New York rabbi has been charged with impersonating a police officer and is being investigated in at least two more incidents all seemingly related to road rage issues.
"That girl was driving too slow and I hate when people do this," Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski told investigators after he was charged last month, when he allegedly pulled his car alongside a woman's vehicle in Mamaroneck, N.Y., flashed a badge and shouted: "Police! Police! Pull over!"
The woman in the incident did not pull over and according to her lawyer, Richard Clifford, the rabbi "just laid on the horn and started screaming at her" as she obeyed a 20-mph limit in a school zone.
"She was so freaked out with the horn honking and the screaming that she called police immediately ... I believe my client was in danger with this guy and if she had gotten out of her car it could have escalated."
The 49-year-old Borodowski denied to police he was trying to impersonate an officer, saying he was telling the woman only that he would be "calling the police."
The officers confiscated the badge, which read: "Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority Officer 1338."
The badge is “totally fake,” according to Judie Glave, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees the bridge and tunnel authority.
Andrew Rubin, the rabbi’s lawyer, acknowledged that his client’s behavior has been "manic" and said he's suffering from bipolar disorder. The lawyer said the rabbi will plead not guilty in court this week. A previous hearing was postponed because Borodowski was hospitalized.
Since Borodowski’s arrest, other drivers in the New York City suburbs have come forward with similar stories to say he has also tried to pull them over.
The rabbi has been fired from a position at prestigious Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan, one of the world's largest Jewish houses of worship. He also leads a congregation in Larchmont, N.Y.
The three complaints prompted the trustees of Temple Emanu-El to dismiss Borodowski as executive director of the Skirball Center for Jewish Learning "in the best interests of the congregation," Mark Weisstuch, administrative vice president, said.
Borodowski was still listed as rabbi on the website for Congregation Sulam Yaakov in Larchmont. According to their website, the rabbi was raised in Argentina, earned his law degree at the University of Buenos Aires Law School (1986) and was ordained as a rabbi at the Seminario Latinoamericano (1991). He received an MA in rabbinic literature and a doctorate in Jewish Philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (1997).