BOSTON (JTA) — Rabbi Barry Starr, a leader in the Conservative movement who has served a suburban Boston synagogue for nearly three decades, resigned after acknowledging his marital infidelity.
Starr informed congregants at Temple Israel, a Conservative synagogue in Sharon, of his resignation in an emailed letter sent last week, the Boston Globe reported. In addition to engaging in marital infidelity, he acknowledged “other serious personal conduct which require me to resign.”
“I write this letter of a very heavy heart and a sense of shame and remorse that makes this the most difficult thing I have done in my life,” the letter announcing Friday’s resignation said.
The executive director of Temple Israel wrote to congregants in a separate email that some checks made payable to the rabbi’s discretionary fund over the past month have been “compromised,” the Globe reported. The director advised donors to stop payment of any checks that may not have cleared.
The Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office, and local and state police are investigating, Temple Israel president Arnie Freedman told the Globe.
Starr, a married father of two, is credited with expanding the congregation he served for 28 years to over 600 families. He has served on the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Theological Seminary and as president of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, as well as the region’s Rabbinical Assembly.
Freedman said he lacked details of the rabbi’s misdeeds but that Temple Israel has not made allegations of any crime against Starr.
“This is the most tragic thing that has happened in the life of this community,” Freedman told the Globe. “He’s always been the heart and soul of our community.”