The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) report released today is an important contribution to the ongoing reckoning in our community. The painful and deeply concerning findings in the report must be, and we believe will be, urgently addressed to ensure that the training of our clergy and professional leaders is done in the most ethically rigorous and accountable way. This report would not have been possible without the courage of those who came forward.
The HUC-JIR Report includes a number of recommendations for HUC-JIR, as well as one that includes four of the independent organizations that are part of the Reform Movement—HUC-JIR, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) and the American Conference of Cantors (ACC). That recommendation is for the four organizations to work together to ensure that the system that places clergy in jobs across our Movement protects the safety and well-being of everyone within our communities. The URJ is committed to participating in that effort.
We want to reiterate our steadfast commitment to address all reports of sexual harassment, abuse, and misconduct within the URJ, and its programs and camps, and to ensure all URJ environments are safe, equitable and inclusive. As part of this process, earlier this year, we engaged Mary Beth Hogan at the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton to conduct an independent, comprehensive, and impartial investigation, the key findings of which will be released publicly. That investigation is ongoing, so if you, or anyone you know, has information to share, please contact Ms. Hogan at URJInvestigation@debevoise.com by November 15. Any questions about confidentiality can be addressed by Ms. Hogan.
The safety and well-being of every individual in our community is our sacred moral responsibility. It is, and always will be, our highest priority.
Rabbi Rick Jacobs
Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman
Chair, North American Board, URJ