Thursday, May 27, 2021

A rabbi’s accuser wanted me to tell her story. Here’s why it took 20 years.

 In March 2005, I was on the verge of publishing an article that I knew would have a major impact. As the editor and publisher of The Jewish Week, I would be describing — for the first time — the true nature of the sexual misconduct that led one of the most prominent Reform rabbis in America to resign from his role as president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the movement’s seminary.

Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman had resigned from HUC in 2000 and been suspended for two years from the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the movement’s rabbinic organization. The group had said only that Zimmerman had engaged in unspecified  ”personal relationships” that violated its ethical code, and many believed that he had a long-ago consensual affair with an adult woman in his congregation.

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