Reports of sexual abuse in the Reform movement are shocking but not surprisingWe all knew this was happening. I have my own stories from life in the Reform movement. Still, there may be hopeful signs of change.
Nevertheless, as the first denominational report about sexual abuse coming out of any of the Jewish denominations, this deserves credit. The Orthodox, Conservative, and Reconstructionist movements have not done this, even though it is just as needed elsewhere. HUC gets credit for opening up, with what seems to be honesty and integrity, and employing an outside office to do the work. It's very risky to show the ugly corners of one's own house. Of course, they were under so much pressure from the flood of grass-roots stories that choosing not to do it may have been worse. Still, they did it. I hope others follow. Special credit to the women inside the movement who relentlessly pushed for this, especially as Rabbi Mary Zamore of the Women's Rabbinic Network. They have my deepest respect.
I have been researching sexual abuse in the Jewish community for four years, interviewing dozens of victims/survivors as well as communal leaders and experts in the field. This report confirms many of my findings. Here are some key take-aways:
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