Movement Statement on Sexual Harassment and Abuse

In light of the growing number of reports of sexual harassment in recent weeks, as evidenced in the proliferation of posts using #MeToo and #GamAni hashtags, the Conservative Jewish movement, as represented by the Rabbinical Assembly, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, North American Association of Synagogue Executives, Cantors Assembly, Masorti Foundation, Schechter Institutes, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, the Ramah Camping Movement and the Jewish Theological Seminary has issued the following statement:

“In the wake of ongoing revelations of alleged sexual misconduct, including the willingness of more and more women, and sometimes men, to tell their stories publicly, the Conservative Jewish movement condemns the behavior of those who use their positions of power to take advantage of others. We must be better attuned to these incidents, develop procedures and policies to prevent them, and condemn and when appropriate prosecute the perpetrators.

Jewish tradition prohibits physical or sexual abuse and teaches that kvod habriyot, the dignity of each person, is to be honored and maintained, and that onaat dvarim, verbal, and by extension other nonphysical abuse, is strictly forbidden, and cannot be tolerated at any level.

We must work to ensure that our Jewish organizations and also our society at large emphasize standards of propriety and respect, and that we have in place policies and structures where those abused or harassed can safely report incidents and know their concerns will be taken seriously. We agree with the Child Safety Pledge, signed by top philanthropists in the Jewish world who have committed to support only those schools, camps and other institutions that work with children to take steps to ‘prevent, report and investigate sexual abuse of minors.’ Let us ensure that our Jewish institutions meet their criteria.”