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June 18, 1993 - Image 33

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-06-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Rabbi Withdraws
From HUC Post

San Francisco (JTA) --
Citing the "antagonism" his
appointment has generated,
Rabbi Robert Kirschner has
withdrawn from teaching
two courses this summer at
Hebrew Union College in
Los Angeles.
Two groups of rabbis and
activists had protested the
hiring of Rabbi Kirschner,
who resigned from Temple
Emanu-El in San Francisco
18 months ago amid multi-
ple allegations of sexual
misconduct brought by con-
gregants, university
students and a temple
employee.
A few weeks ago, a civil
suit charging sexual
harassment was filed
against the Reform rabbi
and synagogue.
In his letter of withdrawal,
Rabbi Kirschner said he was
"greatly consoled by the
faith you have shown in me
and the possibility of
teshuvah (repentance). I
pray that I may have the op-
portunity to prove that your
faith in me was not misplac-
ed."
Rabbi Lee Bycel, dean of
HUC, said he accepted Rabbi
Kirschner's withdrawal
with "a great deal of regret.
"We very much hope that
soon the Jewish community
will again be blessed with
your many gifts of the mind
and of the heart," he wrote
to Rabbi Kirschner:
After a thorough evalua-
tion, Rabbi Bycel had come
to believe that Rabbi
Kirschner, who has been
researching ancient texts
under a grant funded
through HUC, was ready to
return to teaching.
He, therefore, offered
Rabbi Kirschner a job this
summer teaching two
courses in rabbinic texts at
the predominantly female
School of Communal Ser-
vice.
But several rabbis
vehemently opposed any ap-
pointment until a rabbinical
court (beit din) or a similar
kind of tribunal had heard
the case.
Many activists complained
that there was no way of
knowing whether he was
ready to teach women or
that his repentance was
complete and genuine.
"There is no proof that
teshuvah has occurred," said
Los Angeles activist Marcia
Cohn Spiegel. "This was an
example of the old boys'
network finding a job for one
of its own."

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