Apr 27, 2010
Whereas as rabbonim, we embody in our lives and career choices the belief that the rabbinate is a most noble calling and a magnificent path; and,
Whereas for the vast majority of rabbonim, our careers bring us into meaningful and rewarding relationships with lay leaders, warm-hearted volunteers, generous philanthropists, activists pursuing lives of chesed, and a most wonderful mix of people; and,
Whereas at the same time, we recognize that – as a phenomenon that is sociologically consistent throughout and among all peoples and faiths – there emerge certain opprobrious situations that result in certain rabbonim among our colleagues confronted with unusually, even extraordinarily, difficult circumstances in their pulpit positions;
Therefore, the Rabbinical Council of America resolves, in accordance with our Mission Statement that:
• It devolves upon us as the Rabbinical Council of America, to provide succor, emotional support, and pastoral care to our own colleagues who find themselves in such rare and isolated, but existent, situations. We cannot ignore their cries for help, their need for solace, and the recognition that such rabbonim and their families often are very isolated.
• We declare unequivocally that it is unacceptable for any congregation, Jewish school or communal organization to mistreat its rav who holds an office that is inviolable. Towards that end, we invite the Center for the Jewish Future, operating as part of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University, to work with us to foster and create within the next six months a formal staffed infrastructure for supporting beleaguered rabbinic colleagues who find themselves mired in exceptionally challenging predicaments. We envision that such an infrastructure will include:
o Providing pastoral care and professional counseling for beleaguered colleagues and their families
o Providing professional legal advice and trained pro bono legal practitioners to assist rabbonim in pursuing their rights in Batei Din and, in situations when so authorized by Bet Din, in civil courts
o Assisting our colleagues professionally in their efforts (i) to reestablish the authority of their rabbinical positions where desirable, or (ii) to negotiate honorable settlements when their best option is to extricate from an unacceptable environment
o Proactively counseling individual synagogual lay bodies, to help them avoid having soluble problems fester into major crises that bring shame to Klal Yisrael
o Emerging as a manifest presence in American Orthodox Jewish life as a recognized agent defending the status and honor of the American rav, thereby existing as a counter-balance to other forces and agencies in our community that represent other interests.