Buffalo rabbis condemn High Holidays hiring at Buffalo Hillel


(JTA) — The Buffalo Board of Rabbis condemned the involvement in High Holidays services at the University of Buffalo Hillel of a rabbi who was expelled from the Rabbinical Assembly over ethics violations.

Rabbi A. Charles Shalman ran this year’s High Holidays services at the Hillel on Buffalo’s North Campus in Amherst, N.Y.

“Clergy abuse is extremely serious, and is not ‘just an affair’ or ‘an imperfection,’ " read a statement issued by the Buffalo Board of Rabbis sent at the end of last month to Western New York Jewish organizations, The Buffalo News reported. "It is imperative that members of the clergy who have violated that trust be prevented from functioning in any way that might be perceived as being in the role of a rabbi.”

Shalman was expelled from the Rabbinical Assembly in 2008 after having an inappropriate relationship with a member of his synagogue. Also, in 1999, several female congregants accused Shalman of touching them inappropriately and making sexually suggestive comments.

Following the 1999 incidents, the congregation voted to keep Shalman as their spiritual leader, but he was required to have therapy. 

Shalman reportedly was hired to oversee the High Holidays services after another rabbi canceled his participation.

Hillel board chairman Dan Lenard called the outcry a "tempest in a teapot." He told the Buffalo News that Shalman was “totally supervised” during his work with Hillel.

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