500 Jewish clergymen try to return educational accused of sexual misconduct
JTA – Greater than 500 rabbis and singers on Thursday signed a letter condemning makes an attempt to “rehabilitate” Steven M. Cohen, a number one Jewish sociologist who has been accused by a number of ladies of sexual harassment and improper touching in an article of The New York Jewish Week 2018.
The letter follows a report from The Ahead that Cohen and three different longtime colleagues invited Jewish leaders to casual Zoom discussions on modern points in Jewish life – an effort some see as an try to result in Cohen, a decades-long chief in Jewish demography, is again within the fold after Jewish establishments severed ties with him over the accusations.
“We have now come to comprehend that conversations have been held within the space of Jewish organizational life and sociology with Steven M. Cohen – who’s a widely known and unrepentant writer * of sexual abuse – and his associates. As Jewish clergy, we all know that actively collaborating within the rehabilitation of unrepentant aggressors will not be worth impartial, and we all know that elevating the work of unrepentant aggressors will not be worth impartial, ”the clergy wrote.
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The asterisk word reads: “Till Cohen confesses, makes amends and apologizes to these he has harmed and is engaged on transformation, he’s thought of unrepentant within the eyes of the regulation.” and Jewish custom. ”
The participation of numerous Jewish leaders in discussions with Cohen and his colleagues has raised questions on how an individual accused of inappropriate habits or misconduct can return to public life. Whereas Cohen admitted to Jewish Week in 2018 that his habits had adopted “ a sample ” and mentioned he was “ deeply apologetic to the ladies whom I’ve damage by my phrases or my actions, ” the rabbis mentioned Cohen didn’t make sufficient amends for his victims to achieve neighborhood acceptance.
Earlier than the costs towards Cohen went public, he was a professor on the Hebrew Union School-Jewish Institute of Faith and headed the Berman Jewish Coverage Archive. He’s additionally the writer of numerous influential research on Jewish demography and has consulted on initiatives such because the Pew Analysis Heart’s examine of American Jews.
Cohen, with Sylvia Barack Fishman, former professor of Jewish research at Brandeis College; Steve Bayme, former director of the director of latest Jewish life for the American Jewish Committee; and Jack Wertheimer, professor at Jewish Theological Seminary, had invited small teams of students and leaders of Jewish communities to casual Zoom discussions on modern Jewish points.
The letter from the clergy, which condemned the conferences, was organized by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, scholar in residence on the Nationwide Council of Jewish Ladies, and Karen Reiss Medwed, affiliate dean of the Graduate College of Training on the College of Northeast, who first despatched it to colleagues to signal on Wednesday night.
Signatories embody key Jewish neighborhood leaders, together with Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism; Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and the Rabbinical Meeting; and Rabbi Deborah Waxman, president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical School.
A separate letter signed Thursday by greater than 100 rabbinical and cantorial college students echoed the letter from the clergy.
“Encountering unrepentant abusers not solely hampers the Teshuvah course of, which takes up time and house, but additionally sends a message in regards to the values of our neighborhood and shapes its trajectory,” the scholars wrote. “Those that take part in these closed-door conversations select mental exploration over supporting survivors of sexual misconduct and different marginalized teams.”
This letter was curated by Talia Kaplan, Lilli Shvartsmann and Jessica Dell’Period, college students at Jewish Theological Seminary, in addition to Avigayil Halpern from Hadar and Leah Nussbaum from Hebrew Union School.
In one other assertion earlier this week, the Jewish Research Affiliation’s ladies’s caucus mentioned it was “disenchanted” by the conferences held by Cohen and his colleagues.
“This try to refocus and rehabilitate a disgraced and ostracized scholar has actual penalties,” the group wrote. “The Ladies’s Caucus views these efforts as unacceptable and deeply troubling, as they jeopardize the place of junior and contingent teachers in addition to the re-victimization of the ladies focused by Cohen.