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.


  1. So the trend of training female rabbis may be a good thing

  2. There are no problems, when a male rabbi stays on his side of the Mechitza; is careful not to have any physical contact of a sexual nature, other than with his wife; and is careful not to be in Yichud/seclusion with someone who Halacha does not allow him to be secluded with.

    If someone has a problem with adhering to these guidelines, then he should not be in the Rabbinate.

  3. Proud Conservative MomMay 28, 2021 at 5:28 PM

    Amen and Amen!!

  4. Wow. So the Reform have one guy. In Ben Beraq, that's called "Tuesday morning between 9-10 am"

  5. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 30, 2021 at 7:59 PM

    In theory , yes.

  6. Evidence?

  7. I asked him for evidence.
    Do you know the emet of the situation?

  8. I have no way of knowing. However I can safely say that the implication that it's so rampant as he makes it out to be, is categorically false.

  9. It works not only in theory, but in practice as well; provided the conditions that I spelled out, are met.

  10. There's no reason to believe it is less prevalent among the Reform. Au contraire.

  11. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 31, 2021 at 1:19 AM

    among the reform, there is open mishkav zachar, which they now give l'chatchila "kosher" status. Whether this means they are less inclined to abuse their young, requires further research.

  12. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 31, 2021 at 1:21 AM

    provided... in other words, it doesn't work in practice where these conditions are not kept, or it is done in other circumtances

  13. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 31, 2021 at 1:24 AM

    please don't miscontrue my comments on this matter -
    it is shameful to accuse an entire kehillah, town , yishuv etc of collectively acting in such an evil way. it sadly does occur, and is not limited to one sector or another as we have seen in the various cases that have come up. that doesn't make the entire sector poshim.

  14. If your temples don’t have a Mechitzah; if mingling of the sexes is the norm; if not having physical contact with other women seems to be prudish; and if the laws of Yichud are unheard of, or seem extreme, all that together adds up to a recipe for disaster.

  15. My comments were directed to the person who posited that in light of the dalliances of male clergy, then "training female rabbis may be a good thing".

    I argue; that female rabbis are not the solution, rather strict adherence by those in the Rabbinate to Halacha is what meant to keep matters in check, and it works in practice. The moment Halacha is bent regarding interaction between the sexes, even in the slightest manner; then all bets are off. The so-called “rabbi” is not really a rabbi. He’s a pervert disguised as a rabbi.

  16. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 31, 2021 at 2:42 PM

    If people keep halacha, they won't violate it.

    This is your argument.

    But people do violate it, in bnei brak, in meah sh, and in merkaz harav.

  17. Proud Conservative MomMay 31, 2021 at 8:02 PM


  18. Proud Conservative MomMay 31, 2021 at 8:05 PM

    Absolutely 馃挴percent, on many levels!!!

  19. Proud Conservative MomMay 31, 2021 at 8:06 PM


  20. Proud Conservative MomMay 31, 2021 at 8:07 PM

    What are you trying to say, please?
    What is your argument?

  21. Kalonymus HaQatanMay 31, 2021 at 9:10 PM

    A) I'm pointing out the fallacy of what IR is saying. He is saying that if people are good, then they are good.
    But not everyone is good.

    B) separation of the sexes, which is not 100% effective, is aimed at men and women.
    However, even worse things have happened in such environments.
    Not going into detail.

  22. Proud Conservative MomMay 31, 2021 at 11:18 PM

    Thank you most kindly for your response.

    I am going to address both of your points:

    A) IR, never said that good people are guaranteed to be absolutely 馃挴percent perfect 24/7/365.
    There is just cause, why Halachah is precisely the way it is.
    Everything has a precise reason.
    That fact doesn't change, just because some people don't "get it" or refuse to "get it."

    B) IR: "To think that by twisting Halacha, things will be better and improved, is folly,..."



  23. Depends on what you define halacha as.
    Chazal didn't have an issur for men to be alone, they made a chazaka that there are no Jewish fegeles. But , that is not the case now. Some b@stars even encourage it , because they see it as more appropriate than correct behavior.


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