SRE Network remarks on the release of the URJ Restorative Justice “Roadmap to Accountability” and CCAR News

February 16, 2023SRE Network (Safety, Respect, Equity) today expressed support for major steps forward taken by Jewish organizations in response to yesterday’s release of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Roadmap Forward: Striving for Accountability and Repair, as well as the news that Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman has been expelled from the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). SRE Network Executive Director Elana Wien stated:

“These steps represent important progress. And it is progress that would not have been possible without the bravery and persistence of victim-survivors of harm coming forward to demand more from our institutions and community, and the willingness and commitment on the part of Jewish leaders and institutions to make meaningful repair.” 

“SRE Network was launched in 2018 to bring about lasting change in our Jewish workplaces and communal spaces. The progress that has been made since that time, while often difficult and painstaking, is tangible and undeniable. Many Jewish organizations have refreshed policies and improved practices to ensure safety and accountability, and several institutions are beginning to reckon with past harm in meaningful ways.”

In speaking about the URJ process, Wien went on to state, “No other faith community nor large, multi-faceted institution has taken on the kind of in-depth restorative justice exploration reflected in the URJ Roadmap Forward report. The lessons learned from this process have the potential to be scaled across our larger community and society at large, and we are eager to see this work continue.”

Addressing the CCAR news, Wien stated: “We support strong ethics bodies ensuring that there are proper safeguards and accountability mechanisms employed to address harm in our community by those in power, including clergy. That is why SRE Network made significant investments in this work, including the two-year cross-denominational grant we awarded to support training for the Ethics Committees of the CCAR, the Rabbinical Assembly and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, with a focus on acting with a trauma-informed lens, conducting investigations, and counseling congregations. 

SRE Network looks forward to seeing and supporting more bravery and accountability work in our Jewish workplaces and communal spaces in the years ahead.”

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