The SRE Network Stands with Victims and Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Misconduct and Calls for Increased Accountability

April 29, 2021 — The SRE Network calls on Jewish institutions to stand in solidarity with the brave women, men and people of all genders coming forward in recent weeks with their stories of abuse and inequitable treatment in Jewish institutions and communal spaces, and calls for increased accountability.

Elana Wien, Executive Director of the SRE Network, stated, “We stand on the precipice of a massive reckoning within our Jewish institutions and communal spaces, and it is the brave women, men and people of all genders coming forward now with their stories, some fresh, some decades old, demanding to be heard, that we believe has the potential to bring about true and lasting change. We must seize this moment to do the hard work of creating safe, respectful, equitable workplaces and communal spaces.”

This week, the SRE Network approved an emergency grant to support Women’s Rabbinic Network (WRN) for their work behind-the-scenes convening communal conversations and creating space for those coming forward with their own experiences. The SRE Network also expressed its support of WRN’s recent statement calling for concrete action steps toward greater accountability and repair.

Ms. Wien continued, “The allegations made public earlier this week of the sexual abuse and misconduct several women had endured by Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, a senior leader in the Reform Movement, have made it clear that we have a long road to follow from where we are and where we need to be as a community. We applaud the senior rabbi of New York’s Central Synagogue, Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, for bravely addressing these issues and for her call to challenge ourselves to speak the truth and not be bystanders.

We are grateful to the women, men, and people of all genders who have condemned these latest instances of harassment and abuse, along with many more expressions of unacceptable behavior that go unreported in the Jewish community. The SRE Network stands with victims, survivors, and leaders for change to ensure that Jewish institutions of all kinds cultivate safety, respect, and equity so that we end the cycles of abuse that perpetuate harm and break apart the fabric of our 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.

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