Rabbi Saul Berman Unfit To Lead?

Steven I. Weiss writes:

Rabbi Saul Berman’s move to Yeshivat Chovevei Torah as the director of rabbinic enrichment so soon after the revelations about Mordechai Gafni raises obvious questions about Berman’s suitability for the position. He defended Gafni not simply repeatedly and outspokenly, but on the offensive — attacking individuals trying to get Gafni removed from clergy positions, such as Rabbi Yosef Blau — and ultimately creating an environment in which Gafni was allowed to remain unchecked, where he has been found to have sexually exploited several women.…

Berman hasn’t made any significant apology for his conduct, and when I left repeated messages for him seeking comment on Gafni, he did not return my calls. If he’d made an effort to immediately and fully apologize for his conduct after the recent Gafni revelations, and had made a full accounting of where he’d gone wrong and how he’d hope to avoid such missteps in the future, one could argue that this episode shouldn’t factor into an assessment of his ability to “enrich” dozens of future rabbis, but that simply hasn’t happened. At this point, the question for those concerned about clergy abuse is more about why Berman should be allowed in this position than why he shouldn’t be.

I can’t say it better than that. Until otherwise demonstrated, Rabbi Saul Berman is unfit to lead.



Filed under Crime, Modern Orthodoxy

4 responses to “Rabbi Saul Berman Unfit To Lead?

  1. Berman protest campaign

    I would note that Rabbi Berman plans on speaking at the JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave. at 76th St. on teshuvah. I call on the community and press to use these occasions to demand accountability from him just as was demanded from those who were involved in the Lanner cover-up.

    See: http://www.TheAwarenessCenter.org/Lanner_Baruch.html#Willig%20talk%20draws

    It is obscene that Berman whose dishonesty and lack of integrity has been exposed in the Gafni affair can speak publicly on the subject of teshuvah when past survivors of his pal Gafni know he has not done one ounce of teshuvah towards his mistreatment of them and their supporters, not privately, not publicly.

    If Rabbi Berman is not held accoutable publicly for protecting Gafni then it would be clear that nothing has changed since Lanner. As such that cannot be allowed to occur.

    Location: The JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave. at 76th St. (Program room assignments will be available at the JCC Customer Service Desk, in the lobby of the Samuel Priest Rose Building.)
    For more information, or to register, please call 646-505-5708.
    3 times on Tuesdays
    8:30 PM – 9:45 PM
    Sep 5 – Sep 19
    Session 2: Teshuvah: Repairing Relationships with Friends, Spouses, Children and Parents with Rabbi Saul J. Berman, director of Edah
    This series will focus on Torah teachings about the character of healthy relationships. We will study biblical narratives and Jewish laws which reflect on some of the positive and negative elements in relationships with friends, spouses, children and parents, and examine the ways in which relationships can be repaired and strengthened within the framework of the principles of Teshuvah.

    $25.00 – Member
    $30.00 – Non-Member
    $40/$50 for both sessions. Please call 646.505.5708 to get the discount.

  2. Yochanan Lavie

    The MO and the black hatters have the same low moral standards, it seems. We need an alternative traditional Judaism.

  3. Schneur

    I think Rabbi Berman deserves a break. He is a genuine person, who cares about other people. He has been a helpful and human force in todays Modern orthodox rabbinate.
    Perhaps he acted in error in the Gafni affair. But lets remember its not he , but Gafni who acted in a deviant manner.
    I think at one time or another we all defend friends and co-workers. As Jews we all have been trianed to be melamed zechus on others.
    I am not suggesting a need to stop questioing Rabbi Berman, but the rhetoric needs toning down in his case.

  4. Isa

    What rhetoric did Rabbi Berman use against the accusers/victims of Gafni??
    Use the same kind against him.
    Oh did he only say I knew Gafni for many years and he would not do stuff like this- doing the positive (although wrong) and avoiding the mud.
    Somehow I think he was vindictive and used awful adjectives on the victims.
    Dish the same crud right back!!!!

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