Thursday, October 20, 2005

Important Issues to Discuss


Do you believe that individuals who are Rabbis, Cantors or Religious Teachers could be seen as representatives of God?

Do you think it is OK for Rabbis, Cantors, Religious Teachers (our religious leaders) who are married to have sexual relations with individuals other then their spouses?

Do you think when they do, we should just look at them as being human? Or should we hold them to a higher standard?

What do you think should happen to our religious leaders, when they stray from their spouses?

Should they loose their jobs?

Should their memberships to professional organizations (Rabbinical, Cantor Associations, or Teaching Associations) be revoked?

If the membership is revoked, should it be made public?

Should their ordinations be revoked if they are found guilty?

Should there be public warnings regarding their behavior?

Would you consider this behavior as being sexual professional misconduct?

6 Comments:

Anonymous Donna said...

I followed your link to TELL. Their site says they don't work with clergy abuse cases unless the clergy member is a psychotherapist. My abuser is not a licensed mental health professional. Are there other organizations that deal with this besides The Awareness Center?

I have found Christian organizations that are willing to help, but I don't feel comfortable going to them. It seems like The Awareness Center is the only one with resources for Jews.

October 20, 2005 11:37 PM  
Anonymous Ellyn said...

I have always thought of a rabbi and other spiritual leaders as being especially close to God.

I have always thought it was a sin for a married person to have sexual relations outside of marriage. I have always thought it was a sin for a spiritual leader to have sexual relations if they were not married.

I guess things can be complicated by the fact that we are all human, and as human's we make mistakes, yet if someone is a rabbi or teaches torah, they should be respectful of what they teach. We all look at our spiritual leaders as role models. If a rabbi, cantor or one who teaches Torah is in an illicit affair, especially if they are married, what message does that send to the rest of us?

I believe their actions are a cry for help, and should not have access to vulnerable individuals unless they have undergone psychiatric treatment, and their therapist has determined they are no longer a threat. Because I doubt a therapist would make such a determination, I do not believe a rabbi who has violated such a sacred trust, I do not believe they should remain a rabbi, the same can be said about cantors other religious teachers.

I believe that the religious professional organizations also need to keep to a higher standard and revoke memberships to individuals who they suspect have violated Torah in this way. I also believe they should make it public, so that no one else will get hurt.

October 21, 2005 9:03 AM  
Blogger Chavah5760 said...

I am a survivor of rabbinic sexual misconduct. My rabbi-abuser was married to his 2nd wife when he tried to get me to have an affair with him. I was married too. This rabbi tried to seduce me during pastoral counseling sessions and I experienced a deep tranference. I was able to say no to the affair but I sustained severe spiritual and emotional wounds that went very deep. I firmly believe that our rabbi's and other spiritual leaders have an obligation to maintain appropriate, healthy boundaries. They should be an example to all of us and this means behaving in a moral, ethical way. If a rabbi is found to have had an affair with a congregant, it should be grounds for an immediate dismissal from the bimah. Also, I believe that rabbinic authorities, such as the Central Conference for American Rabbi's (CCAR), for Reform rabbi's, needs to order these types of abusers into therapy so they can be treated for whatever issues compel them to abuse vulnerable women. Unfortunately, the CCAR has not upheld their sacred duty to keep the rabbinate safe. They are out for one thing only - to protect their own and avoid scandel.

October 21, 2005 10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chavah,
I agree with you 100%.

October 23, 2005 12:38 AM  
Anonymous carolsue said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I recall adultery as one of the big 3 sins deserving of the death penalty in the Torah, so of course a rabbi should lose his job for that or for molesting a child!

October 25, 2005 5:47 PM  
Blogger Tamarah said...

Unfortunately, the Torah d'oraita definition of adultery is a man having sex with a woman who is married to another man. I can't recall off the top of my head if the Rabbis of the Talmud expanded on that definition, although it makes sense that they would have. (The idea of appearing at least as moral at the surrounding nations comes to mind.)

November 01, 2005 12:24 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home