SRE Network Responds to the Release of HUC-JIR Report
November 9, 2021 — Today the Board of Governors of the HUC-JIR approved the release of the report prepared by Morgan Lewis. This is the culmination of an independent, third-party investigation launched this past spring by HUC-JIR to thoroughly review allegations of past sexual harassment, gender bias, and other forms of inequitable treatment at HUC-JIR.
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC) is an institution of Jewish higher education that operates the seminary of Reform Judaism along with graduate and professional schools and programs that train Reform rabbis and cantors, Jewish educators, non-profit leaders, and scholars of all faiths at its campuses in Cincinnati, New York City, Los Angeles, and Jerusalem.
SRE Network thanks with deep appreciation the 170 individuals who courageously agreed to participate in interviews with the investigators. These are former students, current students, former faculty and current faculty alike. The organization and its leadership, as well as our Jewish community more broadly, owe a debt of gratitude for your willingness to share difficult experiences that not only should not have happened, but in many cases, were previously shared and not addressed. Coming forward to tell and retell these stories is deeply painful. Let us collectively honor your bravery by ensuring that tangible steps are taken to ensure progress moving forward, so that these truth telling efforts are not in vain.
SRE Network also commends the bold and unprecedented step of HUC-JIR in making this report public. Bringing to light both historical and more recent issues within an institution is a key step in institutional accountability. Making this public is an act of institutional courage, and this courage is required to effectively tackle the important next steps of teshuvah, repair and culture shift.
The report outlines important recommendations that all Jewish institutions and communal entities should be considering in both rectifying historical instances of abuse and inequity, as well as continuing to support the foundation of a healthy institutional and communal culture:
- Engage in the Process of Teshuvah
- Take proactive steps to prevent unsafe, disrespectful and inequitable behavior from recurring (or happening in the first place)
- Developing and implement clear policies and procedures
- Review relationships with partner institutions
Lastly, let us not forget that our Jewish community is deeply interconnected and interwoven. We have a shared responsibility to ensure that each of us are taking steps in our own capacities and roles to ensure a safer, more respectful and equitable future for all. Our hope is that this report sets a benchmark of reporting and response throughout the Jewish community.
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About SRE Network:
SRE Network is a Jewish network of over 140 organizations that is rooted in our shared commitment to safety, respect, and equity-for all. We inspire meaningful change in workplaces and communal spaces by bringing people together to address gender-based harassment, discrimination, and inequity. Our work is focused on building community, research and learning, and strategic community investments, using an intersectional lens of gender justice. To learn more about the SRE Network visit srenetwork.org and view our SRE Network Standards for creating safe, respectful and equitable Jewish workplaces and communal spaces here: https://srenetwork.org/our-work/standards/.