Wednesday, January 23, 2008

'Narrow Bridge' Showing Updates - The Awareness Center sponsoring more showings

Vicki Polin, Director - The Awareness Center / Israel Moskovitz, Director - Narrow Bridge

I was told that The Awareness Center will be sponsoring more showings of the film 'Narrow Bridge' in March and April. The locations will be in New York City, New Jersey and also a location in Rockland County, NY.

The set up will be similar to the one in Baltimore and Washington DC., with a panel discussion of experts following the film. I heard that the panel members will be different with each showing. More information to come soon.


Anonymous The Case of Charles Shalman said...

Rabbi at Amherst's Temple Shaarey Zedek resigns amid complaint
Synagogue member alleges misconduct
By Jay Tokasz
Updated: 01/23/08 9:37 AM

The rabbi of an Amherst synagogue who was censured in 1999 for ethics violations has resigned amid a new complaint alleging misconduct.

The Rabbinical Assembly, the union that represents 1,400 Conservative rabbis worldwide, is investigating the complaint, filed by a member of the synagogue who accused Rabbi A. Charles Shalman of having an inappropriately close relationship with the member’s wife.

Shalman submitted a letter of resignation last Wednesday, citing personal reasons for leaving Temple Shaarey Zedek, a Conservative synagogue at 621 Getzville Road.

Shalman, who was hired in 1995, told The Buffalo News on Tuesday that the complaint was just “one piece of a much larger picture” of why he resigned.

“I have put a lot of thought into this decision and hope that I can find a less stressful second career, though I know it will never be as gratifying as my service to the congregation has been,” Shalman, 52, said in a brief telephone interview.

He said he was crafting a letter to the congregation that would explain his decision more fully.

C o ngregation President Rusty Zackheim said the Temple Shaarey Zedek community was shocked and saddened by Shalman’s resignation.

The temple board did not ask Shalman to resign.

Zackheim said she was made aware in late December of the complaint, which she described as being much different in nature from those that surfaced in 1999, when Shalman was nearly removed as rabbi of Temple Shaarey Zedek.

A Rabbinical Assembly investigation concluded then that Shalman had violated several principles of rabbinical conduct during his private counseling or teaching sessions with female members of the synagogue.

The assembly’s ethics board found that Shalman had improperly touched, questioned and made suggestive comments to some women. The assembly ordered him to seek therapy and refrain from counseling or teaching women, unless approved in advance by the ethics board.

The congregation voted to retain Shalman, who had four years remaining on a contract that paid more than $100,000 per year.

The 1999 investigation split the congregation into dueling factions, and the rabbi indicated to board members that he did not want to see it torn apart again, Zackheim said.

“The atmosphere was circuslike,” she said. “He did not want to see that happen again.”

Shabbat services were held Friday evening and Saturday morning without Shalman and will continue under the direction of Cantor Mark Spindler and lay leaders, Zackheim said.

The synagogue has applied to receive an interim rabbi.

The programs of Temple Shaarey Zedek also will continue, except for a Talmud class that Shalman taught.

Shalman had acquired a reputation as a compelling public speaker and bright Talmudic scholar. He often participated in dialogue on sensitive topics with people of other faiths and offered his perspective in public discussions about Israel and the Middle East, Christian-Jewish relations and other subjects.

He is a former president of the Buffalo Board of Rabbis and is listed as a faculty member of the Kadimah School of Buffalo.

Temple Shaarey Zedek, the area’s largest Conservative congregation, with about 500 members, is in the midst of merger talks with the area’s oldest Conservative congregation, Temple Beth El in the Town of Tonawanda.

Zackheim and Temple Beth El President Ed Drozen said Shalman’s resignation would not affect those discussions.

“It doesn’t throw a wrench into it,” Drozen said. “It just gives us something else to deal with.”

January 23, 2008 12:13 PM  

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